Transgender cyclist defends her 'human right' to compete in women's races
A transgender cyclist has defended her right to compete in women's races and says that preventing trans women from competing is "denying their human rights".
Rachel McKinnon is competing on British soil for the first time this week at the Masters Track Cycling World Championships in Manchester. McKinnon will be looking to defend her 35-44 title on Saturday.
The cyclist said: "All my medical records say female. My doctor treats me as a female person, my racing licence says female, but people who oppose my existence still want to think of me as male.
"There's a stereotype that men are always stronger than women, so people think there is an unfair advantage. By preventing trans women from competing or requiring them to take medication, you're denying their human rights."
When asked if she believes a transgender woman has an advantage over cis women (the term that describes a person who identifies with the gender they were assigned at birth) she concedes that is it possible.
McKinnon said: "Is it possible? Yes it is possible. But there are elite track cyclists who are bigger than me.
"There is a range of body sizes and strength, you can be successful with massively different body shapes. To take a British example, look at Victoria Pendleton, an Olympic champion with teeny tiny legs.
"In many Olympic disciplines the gap in performance is bigger between first and eighth in a single sex event than it is between the first man and the first woman."
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Victoria Hood, a cyclist who has competed against McKinnon in the past, said: "It is not complicated, the science is there and it says that it is unfair.
"The male body, which has been through male puberty, still retains its advantage, that doesn't go away.
"I have sympathy with them. They have a right to do sport but not a right to go into any category they want."