Biological Male Wins Female Cycling World Title, Some Say it's ‘Not Fair’

Michael Foust | Contributor | Tuesday, October 16, 2018
Biological Male Wins Female Cycling World Title, Some Say it's ‘Not Fair’

Biological Male Wins Female Cycling World Title, Some Say it's ‘Not Fair’

A biological male who identifies as female won a cycling world championship Sunday, sparking controversy over fairness in athletics. 

Rachel McKinnon won the 35-44 female age bracket at the UCI Masters track cycling championships in Los Angeles 

“First transgender woman world champion…ever*” McKinnon wrote on Twitter.

McKinnon is an assistant professor at the College of Charleston. 

Carolien Van Herrikhuyzen of the Netherlands and Jennifer Wagner of the U.S. finished second and third, respectively. Wagner wrote on Twitter, “I was the 3rd place rider. It’s definitely NOT fair.”

In January, McKinnon told USA Today that the debate over fairness misses the mark. 

“We cannot have a woman legally recognized as a trans woman in society, and not be recognized that way in sports,” McKinnon said. “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.”

McKinnon has said the debate over testosterone is irrelevant, although McKinnon says she is under the maximum testosterone levels as required by UCI.

Jillian Bearden, a cyclist and a transgender woman who was born male, said testosterone gives athletes a natural boost. 

“I’ve proven how powerful testosterone is from when I competed [as a male],” Bearden told USA Today. “That doesn’t mean specifically that the more testosterone you have the stronger you are, but the hormone provides a certain stamina that continues to charge you. It gives you that edge of pushing power.”

Michael Foust is a freelance writer. Visit his blog,

Photo courtesy: Vishal Banik/Unsplash

Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity TodayThe Christian PostThe Leaf-Chroniclethe Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.