Earlier this month, two transgender athletes took the top spots on the podium at a woman’s cycling event in Chicago.
Trans cyclist Tessa Johnson, 25, won first place in the Women’s Single Speed event at the Chicago CycloCross Cup (CCC) on October 7, while trans athlete Evelyn Williamson, 30, placed second. The only biological woman to medal in the Single Speed race was Allison Zmuda, who finished third.
On Tuesday’s show, Megyn and Britt Mayer, founder of Rooted Wings, discussed the state of trans athletes in sports and why women need to take a stand.
The State of Women’s Cycling
Women’s cycling is one of the sports that has been most impacted by trans athletes. In May, Megyn spoke with former top women’s cyclists Inga Thompson and Hannah Arensman about their efforts to get the gender policies of the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) changed, and they turned out to be successful.
In July, the UCI updated its policy, banning transgender athletes from elite competition. Cyclists who transitioned after male puberty cannot compete in women’s events under the new rules: “From now on, female transgender athletes who have transitioned after (male) puberty will be prohibited from participating in women’s events on the UCI International Calendar — in all categories — in the various disciplines.”
But that policy does not apply to the Chicago race Johnson and Williamson placed in. The CCC follows the guidelines for non-elite competition set by USA Cycling. The organization states that at “non-elite competition levels,” a member “may self-select their gender.
Williamson and Johnson are apparently regulars in the Chicago women’s cycling circuit. Back in August, the pair won the Racing-Athletic Relay Cruise in the Windy City as a team. They competed under the name “TS-Estrodolls” – a reference to the hormones trans women take.
While some progress has been made, Mayer said women may need to take a stronger stand in order to enact real change. “I was a competitive athlete, I get that taking a knee is a hard thing to do… [but] I would encourage you girls and you women to stop participating,” she said. “We’re going to have to fasten up our bootstraps on this and… and say, ‘I will not compete against a man… because it’s not fair.’”
In pictures from the CCC Women’s Single Speed contest, Zmuda is seen smiling on the podium next to her trans competitors, but Megyn wondered what would have happened if she refused. “Imagine if that woman just didn’t stand on the podium… and if all the photos were of an empty platform where the biological woman should be, that would also be very powerful,” she said.
If not competing is not an option, Megyn said there are still other ways to take a stand. “For the love of God, just do something – otherwise you’re setting all the other girls who come behind you up to have to deal with this later,” she concluded. “Be strong, be brave, do something to stand up to this otherwise it is going to keep happening.”
You can check out Megyn’s full interview with Mayer by tuning in to episode 649 on YouTube, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you like to listen. And don’t forget that you can catch The Megyn Kelly Show live on SiriusXM’s Triumph (channel 111) weekdays from 12pm to 2pm ET.