The issue of allowing biological males who identify as transgender to compete against biological females in sports has sparked controversy yet again. Tiffany Thomas, a transgender woman, won a cycling event in New York City, outranking two smaller female athletes who took second and third place. Thomas has reportedly finished first place in women’s races 16 times and races for team LA Sweat, specializing in sprint-focused races.
The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) rules, recognized by the USA Cycling federation, allow transgender athletes to compete in elite-level competition. The rules state that athletes who transition from male to female are eligible to compete in the female category if they declare their gender identity as female and demonstrate that their total testosterone level in serum has been below 2.5 nmol/L for at least 24 months. The athlete’s total testosterone level must remain below 2.5 nmol/L throughout the period of desired eligibility to compete in the female category.
46 year old male racer Tiffany Thomas (Trent) of women's pro team LA Sweat got the top women's podium spot at the Randall's Island Crit yesterday.— 🚲 (@i_heart__bikes) March 19, 2023
I guess all that weightlifting in the offseason is really paying off!#SaveWomensSports #SexNotGender pic.twitter.com/ikmVG7aBxC
However, many argue that allowing biological males to compete in women’s sports is unfair due to natural physical differences that give biological males an advantage in sports where muscle, lung capacity, or size correlates to success in the sport. Athletes, parents, and Conservatives expressed outrage last year when trans athlete Lia Thomas took first place at the NCAA women’s swimming championship and Laurel Hubbard won the Gold Medal in the Pacific Games.
Thomas’ recent win has faced harsh criticism on social media, with some users stating that transgender athletes infringe on women’s sports and that separate leagues for transgender athletes should be formed. Despite this, USA Cycling administrators maintain their commitment to ensuring that all members have equal access and opportunities to participate in cycling events in a manner that is fair to all competitors while preserving the integrity of the sport and respecting international competition regulations.
In a late-breaking update, the World Athletics Association’s President, Lord Coe, announced that as of March 31, no transgender athlete who had gone through male puberty would be permitted to compete in female world ranking competitions. The issue of transgender athletes in sports remains a complex and contentious topic, with arguments on both sides about fairness and inclusivity.