Readers are by now familiar with the topic of transgender women competing against women in athletics,with the best known example probably Lia Thomas. Lia competed and won collegiate swimming competitions at the University of Pennsylvania; the school later nominated the trans athlete for an “NCAA Woman of the Year” prize.
But this story might be one of the most stark examples of the unfair advantage enjoyed by transgender women in sports.
The New York Post reported Thursday on transgender woman Tiffany Thomas notching “at least her 20th win” over the weekend, in New York City’s Randall’s Island Crit professional cycling race.
But as the saying goes, the devil’s in the details. A fellow bike racer, “i_heart_bikes,” shared on her Twitters that all of Thomas’ teammates on the elite L.A. Sweat squad fall “between the ages of 24 and 32,” while Thomas is 46. Thomas began training in the sport only five years ago.
The NY Post piece also reports that the news about Thomas’ win was not heralded by some, leading a cycling website to disable the comments on an Instagram post about it. Here’s some of the backlash:
One critic said they “feel so bad for woman athletes in America that have trained their entire lives” to lose out to transgender athletes who some experts say carry a genetic advantage even after hormone therapy.
“We are destroying woman’s rights in America,” the anonymous critic tweeted.
Thomas chose to post to Instagram as well, lashing out at the criticism over Thomas’ beating women in a women’s race:
The “intent was to intimidate and harass transgender athletes (in this case me) to make our lives as miserable as possible so that we leave the sport,” she wrote of the backlash.
“Transgender people are humans and deserve respect. Inclusion policies are a work in progress; bullying, harassment, and threats of violence have no place in this process,” she wrote.
She also insisted that the racers who flanked her on the podium were her “two best friends” who “are just as strong as me.”
“I just happened to have a better day on that particular day. They will assuredly beat me at future races,” she said.
This is a utopian, fantasy land-type answer to real world questions, which Thomas and anyone who supports transgender women competing against biological women in sports must defend at all costs. No one is expressing hatred towards Thomas here. No one wants Thomas to be miserable or to stop taking part in cycling. But the reality is that Thomas is stronger than the other competitors. That reality makes it unfair to women who have spent years training to win races.
Indeed, in a video “i_heart_bikes” also shared, a man interviewing Thomas appears to accidentally trip over the larger issue here. The interview is queued up to the part of the exchange in which, as “i_heart_bikes” wrote, “Tiffany Thomas [is] talking about how much he ‘sucked’ at his first race, coming in 5th out of a field of 24 in the women’s cat 5 (beginner).”
Thomas then whines that “it took him a couple of months to win a race.”
Watch and listen, as the interviewer responded to that part—giving what most people would consider the natural, common sense reaction:
Here's a video of Tiffany Thomas talking about how much he "sucked" at his first race, coming in 5th out of a field of 24 in the women's cat 5 (beginner). He goes on to say that it took him a couple of months to win a race. #TransWomenAreConMenhttps://t.co/bZWiMchwGW
— 🚲 (@i_heart__bikes) February 7, 2023
Thomas: It took me a good two months before I won a race.
Interviewer: It takes people years, or they never win one. So, that was pretty quick.
It sure was.
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