Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) has signaled a shift in its transgender policy in response to backlash against Austin Killips becoming the first man to win a UCI women’s stage race. The world governing body for sports cycling said it would be reopening its consultation, aiming to reach a decision in August, having heard the “concerns” of female athletes about unfair competition in the sport. Inga Thompson, an American road cyclist who represented Team USA three times at the Olympics, called for professional riders to join her in protest against UCI’s policy allowing men to compete as women.
It is time for Women Cyclist to start protesting @UCI_cycling Policy. Start taking a knee at the starting lines. Team managers need to speak up and protect their riders. Hold signs at every race “Save Women’s Sports”. https://t.co/BIn3cSKPJm
— Inga Thompson Fdn OLY (@ithompsonfdn) May 7, 2023
Tennis great Martina Navratilova also spoke out, tweeting, “Women’s sports is NOT THE PLACE for trans identified male athletes.”
Transgender cyclist Austin Killips wins women’s race, causes outrage- this will happen more and more- women’s sports is NOT THE PLACE for trans identified male athletes https://t.co/1KDuhYqyoh
— Martina Navratilova (@Martina) May 3, 2023
Killips took home $35,000 U.S. after winning overall victory in the Tour of the Gila in New Mexico, competing in the female category. Addressing outcry, he said:
“When I see women who have historically been at the margin, whose athletic talent gets cut down because we are saying they’re also not biological women, that’s something I find deeply concerning. I want to make sure the data points we are using aren’t … or we are using sampling that is genuine, and models that are inclusive, and not defining other people out of existence because these tests are being done in the West.
I worry that we narrowly define womanhood and take away the right to compete against people who have historically been marginalized and whose athletic success has been historically undercut by a metric used to push them out of categories.”