Transgender cyclist truly believes she has no competitive advantage

by Cameron Coyle


Earlier this week Donald Trump, Jr. ripped into Canadian transgender cyclist Rachel McKinnon for winning the Women’s World Sprint Championship – smashing a world record at the same time.

Unfortunately, it set off a firestorm of hate that McKinnon didn’t deserve…at all. 

Since then, she’s been trying to defend her place in competitive cycling. 

I don’t blame her, but rather the governing bodies that continue to allow transgender women to maintain an unfair advantage.

On Wednesday, McKinnon attempted to support her cause as she pinned a tweet to her Twitter account titled: Sport and Transgender People: A Systematic Review of the Literature Relating to Sport Participation and Competitive Sport Policies.

As one might expect, the article McKinnon provided was to lend support to the inclusion of transgender athletes (most notably transgender women) and any athletic advantage transgender athletes maintain is mostly a perception.

It failed.

The underlying problem with this entire article – its lack of research and findings – is that the burden of proof isn’t on transgender athletes to show they don’t maintain a competitive advantage, but rather for everyone else to prove they do.

Once you sift through the article itself, its claims raise many more questions than answers.  

  • On average, men perform better than women in sport; however, no empirical research has identified the specific reason(s) why. 

This statement is beyond baffling as it’s been medically proven that men have bigger bones in both size and density and have greater muscle mass. According to men have 66 percent more upper-body muscle, and 50 percent more lower body which allows them to be stronger, faster while maintaining a higher endurance. 

The male population also has larger organs (on average) with hearts capable of generating more blood and oxygen to the body and lungs capable of higher oxygen intake.

Even if basic anatomy doesn’t seem to resonate here, records and statistics show that men simply outperform women at just about every competitive level.   

Remarkably, McKinnon’s article states: “The athletic advantage transgender female individuals are perceived to have are based on indirect and ambiguous evidence.” 

There’s nothing ambiguous about being a biological male.

McKinnon’s article also points to a lack of data or research. Here’s a number of examples:

  • There is a lack of physiological performance-related data in transgender people. This is preventing an overall consensus from being made as to whether transgender sport policies are fair or not. 
  • At a medical level, more physiological research is needed with the transgender population to accurately determine whether transgender people have an advantage in competitive sport or not.
  • There is limited research from which to draw any conclusion about whether transgender people have an athletic advantage in competitive sport or not.

So acquire extensive research and then come back, present your findings and make your case. At least, that’s how it should work.

Transgender women athletes dominating competitive sports is a relatively new phenomenon so scientists and researchers lack this necessary long-term data and research required to debunk the “athletic advantage” argument.  The only “experts” willing to expend the necessary time are those who are paid and funded to support one argument over the other. 

Why should we expect the LGBTQ community to support any study that doesn’t cling to their agenda?

  • Currently, the majority of sport policies unfairly exclude transgender people from competitive sport, as the requirements they place on them are not underpinned by evidence-based medicine.

Who’s being unfairly treated or disadvantaged? The cisgender male who now identifies as a female or the cisgender female losing out competitively to a biological male.

According to IOC standards, transgender men are not being unfairly excluded (because they’re biological women and thus are already athletically disadvantaged), so they don’t have the same restrictions.  To say these policies exclude all “transgender people” is simply inaccurate. 

  • Until (and if) there is consistent and direct evidence to demonstrate transgender people have an athletic advantage, it seems unreasonable to exclude them on any basis.

This goes back to my original statement. The burden of proof should clearly fall on the transgender athlete to show there’s no athletic advantage, not the other way around. 

That’s why there’s extensive anti-doping policies in place where the athlete has to submit they’re in proper accordance with the rules and by-laws of their sport in order to maintain a competitive balance.

Cisgender men already have the “athletic advantage”, so now it’s up to the transgender woman to prove that advantage no longer exists.