An American cycling competition created a third division for “transgender” cyclists on Friday after a male recently won a cycling event in the women’s division.
In June, Austin Killips, a man who identifies as a transgender woman, competed in the nearly 140-mile Monuments of Cycling’s “Belgian Waffle Ride,” a grueling one-day cycling event that mirrors five pre-World War I European cycling events called “The Monuments.”
He participated in the event in North Carolina in the women’s category and took the first place prize of $5,000.
Various women appeared to complain about the impossibility of competing against a biological male, according to the Belgian Waffle Ride Facebook page.
“In response to feedback that we recently received from some cyclists after our most recent North Carolina race,” the organization posted on Facebook on June 22, “we are reviewing our registration and competition rules.”
On July 7, Monuments of Cycling announced that only biological women will be allowed to compete in the female category after August 1.
“In the interest of protecting the parity of sports between women and men, racers who were born female may compete in the classification,” Monuments of Cycling posted under the female category.
So-called transgender athletes will have a chance to compete by registering in the new “open” category. Participants in this category will be given the same opportunities to earn cash prizes for first- through third-place finishes as participants in the male and female categories.
Paula Scanlan, a teammate of University of Pennsylvania transgender swimmer Lia Thomas who has joined Riley Gaines in advocating for justice in women’s sports, reacted on Twitter to the announcement of an open category.
“I like that this solution protects females, but having a third category with the same prize money seems expensive and is not feasible for all races and competitions,” Scanlan wrote.
Scanlan added, “The third category will be dominated by male athletes, and males will now have two categories to win in.”
Overall, Scanlan appears to support the idea of an open category so long as there is a female-only category. However, Monuments of Cycling does not appear to have a set process for ensuring the female category stays just female.
In an announcement about the new category, the organization wrote, “Belgian Waffle Ride will not require proof of eligibility for racers competing in specific classifications before an event, preferring a self-selection honor policy that relies on the integrity of our participants to follow the registration criteria.”
The Daily Signal emailed Monuments of Cycling for comment on the process of ensuring cyclists are obeying the rules but did not receive a response by publication.
Based on the new category announcement, the cycling organization “may require … validation of eligibility of specific racers on a case-by-case basis … if race officials see a need to seek verification. Racers can also request confirmation of eligibility verification of competitors by Belgian Waffle Ride via an anonymous process.”
Still there is no guarantee the request will be processed, as it is simply taken “into consideration,” or if it will be processed in time for the event.
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