‘Madness’ over first trans world champ
CYCLING'S first transgender world champion has fired back at heated criticism surrounding her breakthrough victory at the 2018 UCI Masters track championships.
Canadian philosophy professor at South Carolina's College of Charleston Dr Rachel McKinnon endured a torrent of online trolling after taking to social media to celebrate her world championship win in the women's 35-44 sprint final at the Velo Sports Center in Los Angeles earlier this week.
An image of McKinnon standing tall above her competitors during the medal presentation ceremony has spread globally in the wake of her controversial victory - just as she predicted.
McKinnon, born a biological male, won gold in the sprint final against friend Carolien Van Herrikhuyzen from the Netherlands.
An elated McKinnon claimed, to her knowledge, she is the first openly transgender athlete to win a world championship in any sport, after nudging past Van Herrikhuyzen on the final straight in a time of 12.903 seconds.
American Jennifer Wagner, who finished third, led the criticism against McKinnon's participation in the championships.
Wagner responded to English media commentator Katie Hopkins' online swipe at McKinnon by declaring it was not fair that McKinnon was able to compete at all.
Hopkins also declared it was "febrile madness" for the UCI to sanction McKinnon's participation.
For clarity - this was the WOMENS world championships.— Katie Hopkins (@KTHopkins) October 14, 2018
I repeat. Women’s.
Congratulations to the brave faces of silver & bronze. The world is gripped by a febrile madness. pic.twitter.com/P6VkaNFeyy
McKinnon hit out at the criticism immediately following her victory both on social media and in interviews.
She told velonews.com she enjoyed no physical advantage over her competitors despite being born a male.
"I think there is absolutely no evidence that I have an unfair advantage," McKinnon said.
"People who oppose transgender inclusion in sport put us in the double bind. It's the "damned if you do, damned if you don't" scenario.
"If I win, they attribute it to me being trans and having an unfair advantage. If I lose, the same people think I must not be good anyway. People will never attribute my winning to hard work which is what I think I deserve."
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I broke the 200m WORLD RECORD this morning. It was my first indoor 200m and I have to admit that my 11.92 was significantly slower than I was doing outdoors in the summer. I still need time to get comfortable and save maximum energy in the windup. Unfortunately my record lasted 10min before I was beaten by 0.031s. I'm still super happy though. I'm safely through to the semi finals tomorrow afternoon. #rainbowfoxracing #rainbowfox #herthighness #quaddess #quadzilla #thefutureisfoxy #wtfsracebikes #sprinter #trackcycling #sportisahumanright #inclusivesport #lgbtq #lgbtqsport #transathlete #transrightsnow #transinclusivesport #girlslikeus #vegan #socialchange #socialjustice #transvisibilty #olympichopeful #plantbasedathlete #inspiration * * * °@fujibikes Bike °@fsa_road Chainrings, stem °@vision_tech_usa Crankset, chainrings, wheels °@lazersportusa Helmet, sunglasses °@vie13_kustom_apparel Speedsuit * Coaches: @empiricalcycling and @nathanrogut° ° @Regran_ed from @erosportspa - We had the incredible privilege of working with @rachelvmckinnon this summer, who set a World Record this morning for the women’s 35-39 flying 200m. It was broken again a few heats later, but the moment was sweet while it lasted! Congratulations, Rachel! #areyouero #worldrecord #erosportsbikefit #erosportspa #erosportspennsylvania #worldchampionships @outforthewin @outsportsinspire
She said there is no research to suggest that testosterone and body development would in anyway enhance the physical performance of transgender athletes.
She recently told USA Today that policing the testosterone levels of transgender athletes violates their human rights - declaring that should override all debates surrounding potential unfair playing fields for transgender athletes.
"We cannot have a woman legally recognised as a trans woman in society, and not be recognized that way in sports," McKinnon said recently.
"Focusing on performance advantage is largely irrelevant because this is a rights issue. We shouldn't be worried about trans people taking over the Olympics. We should be worried about their fairness and human rights instead."
Her arguments did little to stop her accomplishments being immediately criticised by people on social media with McKinnon angrily firing back at trolls on Twitter and Instagram.
...the next weeks are going to be wild. There's probably going to be a tonne of press, both positive and SUPER negative, for my world championship win. As far as we know, I'm the FIRST EVER trans woman world champion in an individual event...ever.— Dr. Rachel McKinnon (@rachelvmckinnon) October 14, 2018
In her comments she claims silver medallist Van Herrikhuyzen embraced her after the victory and said the Dutch athlete openly supported the result.
The same can't be said for bronze medallist Wagner - or many other users on Twitter.
A propos of last tweet, I also sometimes suspect that Rachel McKinnon is not in fact a US philosopher, but a Russian bot, designed to expose the weak-mindedness & superficial feminism of other philosophers. Honestly. At what point will you admit to yrselves that this is trolling? https://t.co/wKZvxcjGZ9— Kathleen Stock (@Docstockk) October 13, 2018
Lots of transphobic bigots are responding to my world championship win saying that 'Next up, the paralympics.' Hey women, you realize that ALL of these people (many of them women) are comparing you to disabled people...right? Women = 'disabled men' they think. Wow. Offensive. pic.twitter.com/K5cbZgaOMc— Dr. Rachel McKinnon (@rachelvmckinnon) October 14, 2018