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Portland racers grapple with transgender participation debate

Posted by on November 7th, 2019 at 8:58 am

The global debate over the presence of transgender athletes in competitive sports has hit our local racing scene.

“I believe that transgender people should participate at OBRA events in the gender category in which they feel most closely aligns with their gender identity and athletic ability.”
— Steven Beardsley, OBRA Board member

When transgender athlete Rachel McKinnon defended her track World Championship victory last month, it sparked a wide-ranging debate about gender, fairness and tolerance in sports. It also appears to have been the last straw for former Olympic cyclist Inga Thompson. Under a headline at SaveWomensSports.com of, “Male athletes are taking over women’s cycling,” Thompson wrote: “This is the beginning of the end for women’s sports. We cannot allow this abuse of female athletes and mockery of women’s sports to continue. It is not bigotry to defend biology, and it is not hate speech to defend your rights.”

Thompson’s article and proposal to create a separate category for transgender athletes caught the attention of local bike racers because Thompson is an at-large member of the Oregon Bicycle Racing Association (OBRA) Board of Directors.

Thompson’s views prompted local bike shop owner Rachel Cameron to launch a petition last week that call for her to be removed from the board.

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As those petitions swirled around, OBRA Executive Director Chuck Kenlan addressed the controversy in an email to members on October 31st. “Although our staff and board members may have personal views that aren’t shared by everyone who is a member of OBRA, we are committed to always upholding and defending the mission, vision and current rules of the organization, including our Transgender Policy (attached) and Code of Conduct. We pledge to continue to work and grow as an organization in addressing issues that affect our underrepresented members, including transgender and non-binary racers, and how our staff and board interact around these issues.”

“We are doing what we can to include everyone who does not benefit from cis-male privilege, and we are all better because of inclusion.”
— Clint Culpepper, Portland Trophy Cup

Then earlier this week someone posted the text of a fake satirical anti-transgender news story on the OBRA Chat list. The posting sparked a heated debate with dozens of messages. The thread became so hurtful and negative that OBRA leaders took the rare step of deleting it and they’ve banned the original poster from using the list.

On Monday, Kenlan published another message to OBRA members saying he was “deeply troubled” to read the anti-transgender post. “His attempt at humor was offensive, bigoted and has no place within the organization or even on our fringes… OBRA Chat can be a powerful forum to share thoughts and ideas. I would hope that everyone that participates in the group does their best to be respectful and refrains from name-calling and hateful remarks.” Kenlan also pointed members to OBRA’s existing, detailed transgender policy (PDF) that says racers are allowed to self-select their own gender.

Yesterday, OBRA Board Member Steven Beardsley posted to the chat list that he felt messages shared by some members about transgender athletes was, “revolting and offensive”. “I believe that transgender people should participate at OBRA events in the gender category in which they feel most closely aligns with their gender identity and athletic ability,” he wrote. “I believe that our community is currently too homogeneous. Our organization needs to be doing a better job at providing opportunities for marginalized and underrepresented communities to enjoy the sport of cycling.”

Despite transphobic outbursts from some OBRA members this week, there are other many signs that the racing scene in the Portland region embraces people who don’t identify with the gender of their birth. Portland Trophy Cup owner Clint Culpepper explicitly makes all “Women” race categories open to, “all cis-women, trans-women, and non-binary racers.”

“We are doing what we can to include everyone who does not benefit from cis-male privilege,” Culpepper’s website states, “and we are all better because of inclusion.”

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org
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99 Comments
  • Avatar
    Champs November 7, 2019 at 9:57 am

    The number of trans athlete voices to speak for themselves and solutions that will make everyone happy are slim and none, respectively.

    I am not one of those voices, but I do take the side of respecting a person’s identity, believing that everything that matters is within (figuratively or otherwise), and erring on the side of love.

    If you can’t do that, and still see trans athletes as cynical opportunists, then step back, take a deep breath, and remember: it’s just a bike race.

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      Glenn II November 9, 2019 at 12:01 pm

      It’s not about the “cynical opportunism” of a trans athlete… dare I say it’s not about the trans athlete at all. It’s about the women who want to compete in a fair fight against other people with a similar testosterone profile. All our good intentions about recognizing people’s gender are great, but they’re running afoul of our older good intentions about preserving a place for women. We’re basically saying RE women’s sports, “Yep, men, this too, you can have. This too is for you.”

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    jakeco November 7, 2019 at 10:03 am

    An exciting article! I have trouble understanding how biological males think it is okay to compete against biological females. Can anyone help? If the women’s category is going to be the catch all for anyone, perhaps it should be renamed? Instead of giving advantages to those biological males who wish to compete against biological women I think there should be categories added rather than lumping everyone into 1 of 2 categories and that it is not transphobic to discuss it.

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  • Hello, Kitty
    Hello, Kitty November 7, 2019 at 10:13 am

    It might be worth considering that, at sport’s highest levels, most athletes have significant physiological advantages over the rest of us. Most of us would never have the ability to compete at high levels, no matter how much we trained, or how good our technique was. Transgender athletes make this issue more visible.

    Sport is inherently unfair, and maybe the conversation should start at that point.

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    joan November 7, 2019 at 10:19 am

    Thompson’s comments were incredibly transphobic and bigoted. It’s hard to imagine a board member being so openly racist or sexist and that would be okay. Transphobia no different.

    Trans women are women. Rachel McKinnon is a woman. We don’t have a case where trans women are easily dominating women’s sports. That’s not what’s going on here. Do people really imagine that cis men make up being transgender and all that entails … to compete in women’s sports? It makes no sense.

    Cheers to Clint for modeling on this should be done. Boo to OBRA for not handling this better from the start.

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      jakeco November 7, 2019 at 11:03 am

      New to participating in these discussions so hopefully this is a reply to Joan.
      I teach department of defense Equal Opportunity and do not agree that questioning an individual ‘s abilities is transphobic. Before the recent change to transgender policy a person was considered their birth gender until their medical team certified that they were medically their new gender at which point they had to adhere to the new gender height/weight, grooming and physical training. It is my understanding that this is not the way in the civilian world and that below elite levels it is up to the individual to self declare their gender which does open the possibility of unfair competition whether willfully or not.

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      J_R November 7, 2019 at 11:06 am

      “Do people really imagine that cis men make up being transgender and all that entails … to compete in women’s sports?”

      Yes. I think it does happen. I’m not sure how often and I’m certainly not claiming that it comprises the majority of such actions. But to claim it does not happen is also not realistic.

      Look at the Varsity Blues scandal to see how prevalent cheating in relatively low level sports.

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      • Avatar
        Al November 7, 2019 at 11:19 am

        I fail to see how the scandal you mention is relevant to this.

        Also, your assertion that “it does happen” seems to be based on on nothing more than you imagining that it can happen. I always welcome links and citations.

        I recommend studying how modern doping controls work.

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          Rudi V November 7, 2019 at 2:52 pm

          Al
          I fail to see how the scandal you mention is relevant to this.Also, your assertion that “it does happen” seems to be based on on nothing more than you imagining that it can happen. I always welcome links and citations.I recommend studying how modern doping controls work.Recommended 5

          Whenever something of value is at stake like prize money or a scholarship, and you give someone a clear path to cheat without consequence, it will happen.

          You mean I can get in to harvard just by checking the box saying I’m native american? You mean I can bring my great dane on the plane just by claiming he’s a support animal?

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      Steve Scarich November 7, 2019 at 11:18 am

      ‘trans women are not easily…’…Uh….Kaster Semenya…..Have you ever watched her race? It is not even remotely fair., and that is why she has been banned from international competition…I don’t have an answer to this dilema (other than a separate categoy), but put yourself in the place of a world-class woman with normal-range testosterone, having near zero chance of winning. Inga’s wording was poor and insensitive, but her point is spot on.

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        Rachel Cameron November 7, 2019 at 11:27 am

        Semenya isn’t a trans woman….

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          Steve Scarich November 7, 2019 at 11:31 am

          I’m happy to be corrected; beiing an older person, I am not so well versed in the myriad of sexual identity/biology etc issues of the day. Where would Caster fit in this discussion?

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            Sara Cowling November 7, 2019 at 6:32 pm

            She’s a woman.

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            Cyclekrieg November 8, 2019 at 11:11 am

            Caster Semenya is reported to have high testosterone levels and may be inter-sexed. This gets complicated as inter-sexed individuals takes in everything from Swyer Syndrome (physically female in every way, genetically male; they have non-functioning ovaries as they are technically testes, though completely inert) to persons with malformed or ambiguous genitalia. Inter-sex is completely biological state with no psychological component, often caused by hormone imbalances in the fetal stage.

            Transgendered persons also take into a large swatch of variety. Everything from gender non-conforming to a those desiring to live their lives as another gender. Unlike inter-sexed individuals where biology misfires in some way, transgendered individuals have a gender dysphoria, that is a feeling of being disconnected to their biological sex. This gets… complicated… because as with any dysphoria, the “problem” is with brain, not the body. Discussing the dysphoria aspect of transgenderism is considered bigoted by some as the idea that a belief someone has regarding their gender as psychological is seen as dismissive as it suggests the “problem” can be fixed.

            Many societies have had ways to deal with those that fell outside the gender norms, often with so called 3rd genders. These groups often were a blanket for all that we call LGBT today. This is a long subject, so I’ll send you here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Third_gender

            I’m not an older person. But there is a lot of splintering of descriptions and terms that sound different but describe the same thing. Seriously, its like every week you hear another term with the suffix “sexual” attached to it. What doesn’t help this whole discussion is that a lot of advocates for the transgendered community are pretty unwilling to acknowledge that in a binary gender society that anything outside those binary will cause issues, especially when its <1% of the population. If a person mentions those issues or suggests those issues have some input (best word I could come up) by non-transgendered community members, they are often shouted down as bigotted or transphobic. As an example, we have created a binary bathroom situation (in Victorian times), which means that creates an issue when a person believes they don't fit into that binary world or into the other side of the binary. So here, when discussing athletes, we hit a real issue as we have created a binary structure for athletes to perform and records based on that binary structure; along comes biological males (and the performance benefits that brings) entering the other side of the biological binary structure.

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        I wear many hats November 7, 2019 at 11:37 am

        Caster Semenya is NOT trans. She is intersex. While similar in chromosomal presentation, it is different. You are comparing apples and oranges.

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        Lisa November 7, 2019 at 12:04 pm

        RIGHT. Caster Semanya is not trans.

        Humans have variation in their physicality.

        Michael Phelps has very unique anatomical structures (like big feet) that really, really help him win at swimming. Caster Semanya happens to have a certain internally generated testosterone level. Yet, people think it’s appropriate to police Semanya’s hormone levels and not Phelps’ foot size.

        The policing here has more to do with conforming to some definition of “womanhood” and “femininity” than ensuring an “equal” sporting advantage.

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        Champs November 7, 2019 at 12:24 pm

        What matters to Semenya is that she was raised as a girl. She doesn’t care about her genetics, it’s just who she is.

        What matters to others is that she’s winning. Nobody would care that she’s XY intersex otherwise.

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty November 7, 2019 at 1:57 pm

          If genetics/biology don’t matter, and it’s all about “who you are”, why have gender-based categories at all?

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          • Avatar
            Champs November 7, 2019 at 8:06 pm

            Why have Juniors or Masters races, for that matter? They’re all different opportunities to compete with peers, if not equals. If you don’t see trans and cis women as peers, please elaborate.

            I know trans people of both persuasions, if you’ll pardon the expression. I respect their identity. The decisions they’ve made are serious, not cynical.

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            Champs November 7, 2019 at 8:23 pm

            Lest we forget Special Olympics.

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  • Avatar
    Granpa November 7, 2019 at 10:40 am

    Google “Harrison Berrgeron” by Kurt Vonnegut

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    Rachel Cameron November 7, 2019 at 10:41 am

    Happy to see a bunch of new signatures on the petition after this post. Thanks, Jonathan. I’m thankful for friends like Steven, Clint and Chuck who are standing up to this bigotry.

    Inga has handled this so poorly. She even signed the petition with a snarky comment. She has no place in leadership.

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    todd mcallister November 7, 2019 at 11:04 am

    Take away all the bs and it’s simply unfair. Also why stop with gender? Why not remove restrictions from weight, age, nationality, species etc.? ***A PORTION OF THIS COMMENT HAS BEEN DELETED***

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    • Avatar
      Rachel Cameron November 7, 2019 at 12:27 pm

      Gross.

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    Rudi V November 7, 2019 at 11:27 am

    Lulz. I read a story last week about gay men in England being called “homophobic” for not wanting to have sex with biological females who’ve decided they’re men.

    None of this has anything to do with “gender”, it’s all about power and how much idiocy we can all be made to swallow in the name of “progressiveness”.

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  • Avatar
    Bike Guy November 7, 2019 at 11:33 am

    Quote from the cycling weekly article:

    “The researchers suggested that if size or strength of competitors is a concern, different sporting categories not based on gender should be considered.”

    Accusing people of ‘bigotry’ is rhetorical laziness. Calling people bigoted and deleting dissenting viewpoints might make part of the OBRA board and others feel as though they have conclusively won the debate, but the reality is some people have a problem with a biological male participating in a racing category for females without hating anyone involved because it doesn’t seem fair. (I’m not one of those people; my mind isn’t made up.)

    You can hold that view without being bigoted. I wouldn’t want a World Tour rider winning every Cat 5 race handily all season, for example, and that has nothing to do with whether I like or don’t like WT riders. Again, fairness.

    Proposal: I suggest we organize amateur riders by Watts / KGs at FTP or bodyfat percentages and body weight. These are objective proxies for performance that will make for more evenly matched categories of riders, without having to resort to identification on grounds of sex / gender / whatever. Everyone who is ‘new category 1’ can ride together; all the way down to ‘new category 5’. Sorting by relatively strength (cats 1-5) and gender was only ever substitute for placing supposedly similar capable riders together.

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    • Avatar
      PS November 7, 2019 at 1:21 pm

      Very well put. The w/kg at FTP suggestion is far and away the best leveler of the playing field in a competitive setting. Frankly, it would be awesome to be in a race with other men, women, etc. all with 4.0 w/kg FTPs. Of course, determining the FTP of any given competitor may be difficult, but in this conversation folks are having to evidence their testosterone content, so…

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    • Avatar
      Sara Cowling November 7, 2019 at 6:36 pm

      Gross.

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  • Avatar
    Rudi V November 7, 2019 at 11:37 am

    This article as written it gives the impression that the linked “fake anti-transgender” story was meant to deceive, when in fact that claim itself is deceptive. The linked story is clearly satire. It’s hard even to see how it’s “anti-transgender” since it doesn’t mention gender once.

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    • Avatar
      Charley November 7, 2019 at 12:00 pm

      What are you talking about???

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      Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) November 7, 2019 at 4:30 pm

      Hi Rudi V.

      I understand your concern w how I framed that article. Like I always say, context matters. It’s not just about the article itself, but where and when it was posted – as well as how that posting impacting other people. Given all that, I feel like it’s accurate to say it was posted with an anti-transgender attitude and the poster intended to hurt transgender people by posting it.

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      • Avatar
        W(h)in(n)er November 9, 2019 at 9:09 am

        So if I’m a low T person and I need a TUE to stay with an NCNCA cat5 pack but it won’t be granted for my case and even if then I have to renew every year and just maybe even then I’ll get banned from all sports for life, can I just invoke trans privilege and get all the T up to normal range and race with the skinny girls to boot? I feel like a winner, I’ve felt like it my whole life my mom says I’m one. It’s causing disphoria and I’m afraid someone will kill me now, if not I’ll kill myself unless I get what I want and you’re a racist if you don’t agree. Some sarc but so true. why the double standard with trans privilege here? By giving in out of fear of the local mob OBRA has poisoned the well for all. OBRA haven’t just ruined women’s.. but all. They will need one combined division simply due to reduced enrollment. Enjoy…

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      hickeymad November 8, 2019 at 7:03 am

      I have to agree with Rudi on this one. When I first read the article I was expecting something entirely different from the obviously satirical one that open up when I clicked the link. The claim that the article is a “fake news story” is ridiculous. It’s. It not a news story it’s satire; by an organization that specializes in satire.

      Satire can of course still sting to the people being satirized, but satire is also a necessary and respectable. Satire functions exactly because it highlights uncomfortable juxtapositions between truth and perception. That satirical link was incredibly successful in doing exactly what satire has always been successful at doing; speaking truth to power. The power here is the power of the progressive mob to dominate the cultural conversation and destroy people with whom they disagree.

      The fact that Thompson is now being persecuted by this same mob for speaking the same truth shows just how necessary it is for rational people to defend their rights to free speech; no matter how uncomfortable it makes progressives feel.

      Some good ideas within this discussion for solving the trans/women’s sports pickle that progressives have gotten us into. We can thank SATIRE for helping these conversations along.

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      • Avatar
        Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) November 8, 2019 at 8:34 am

        Hi hickeymad and Rudi,

        Thanks for sharing your concerns about my use of “fake” regarding that article. I referred to it as fake because it’s not a real news story. “Not real” is the definition of “fake”. But I should have known better than to use the “fake” phrase given its modern cultural baggage. I have edited the story to use the word “satirical” instead.

        Also, on this site, I get to determine your right to free speech. This is not a public forum, it is my privately-owned business and I manage it just like you would if someone came into your business and starting doing things you didn’t like. My rules say that – whether it’s allowed by the constitution or not – if I feel your words intentionally hurt other people I will delete your words and consider banning you or putting you on the moderation list.

        I welcome your participation here. Please treat others with the same respect you expect to be treated with. Thanks.

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    Charley November 7, 2019 at 11:52 am

    I was reading through that anti-trans website and found this nugget, from a woman angry at having to race with a trans bike racer named Hound: “Ultimately I decided to drop the issue. In the end, my girlfriend and I decided to just not worry about this boy pretending to be a girl. Hound was not a man. Not even close. If nature tried to make a man it failed miserably.”

    Good lord. Can there be any question as to why the world is such a dangerous place for trans people? When lesbian North Californa bike racers say stuff like *this*??? There’s no safe place for trans people, and this woman is part of the reason.

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      Rudi V November 7, 2019 at 11:59 am

      So a male to female transgendered person is not “man enough” for two lesbians, and that equals “dangerous” and not just confusing as hell?

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        Charley November 7, 2019 at 12:04 pm

        Exactly. When even people who might otherwise be considered allies (lesbians also in the gender and sexuality minorities category, from California no less!) say such intentionally hurtful things, fostering a culture of hate and derision, it’s no wonder that the world is a dangerous place. And, if you were to look at the statistics, they show that the world is, in fact, a dangerous place for trans people.

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          Rudi V November 7, 2019 at 12:22 pm

          Dude stop mansplaining.

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            Charley November 7, 2019 at 2:40 pm

            LOL. You ask me a question and then get upset when I answer. Don’t ask if you don’t want a response, Rudi!

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            Charley November 7, 2019 at 2:55 pm

            The idea that a male bike racer would go so far as to “choose” to be transgender in order have a better shot at winning amateur bike races is so laughable. Do you people have any clue how hard it is to be a trans person? If you’re a man, just imagine what it must feel like to put on feminine clothing and makeup, and walk downtown some evening. Do you think you’d feel safe? Respected? I’ll give you $10 if you tell me that subjecting yourself to *that* level of condescension and danger every day (we’ve even seen a bit of it here on this page!) is worth a better shot at winning an amateur bike race, in the women’s category, where as it turns out, even the other racers will be cruel to you.

            Honestly, a lot of this reminds me of the conversation around the successful East African marathon runners: maybe we should be having whites only marathons, because the Africans are taking opportunities from white people.

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    Clarity please November 7, 2019 at 12:35 pm

    This article skips so many relevant details. Yes, there are absolutely transphobic distasteful things on Inga’s site. Yet the proposal itself does have rationale. As the rules stand currently any local woman that doesn’t have the time or talent to race at the pro or elite level can literally end up riding every single race competing against a trans woman that has undergone zero physiological transition. So biologically still completely male. This is not fair to the women’s field. Yes, inclusivity is great! But fairness can’t be thrown out in the process. Because races tend to get split category 4/5 and 1/2/3 and this practice is allowed up to cat 3 there is literally no way for a female racer to avoid this competitive conundrum. Mind you before you make the argument “well the trans woman would just win everything and get leveled up” keep in mind that that poses requirements for a significant volume of racing per year and certain minimum field sizes that are often not met on the local level. This is why this proposal has gained ground.
    Now there are other potential solutions, such as allowing this only at the novice (4/5) level. But as the rules stand now it is not even slightly fair to the cis women in the sport. Nor were they ever consulted as to their feelings on having to race against someone who from a purely physiological standpoint is fully male. Trans women are women, but sex and gender are not the same thing.

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    Bjorn November 7, 2019 at 12:47 pm

    I seem to remember a few years ago people were complaining about a trans woman racing in the mens class because she was winning that, something that she was only doing because she’d been harassed when she was racing as a woman. In the end she was blocked from racing in a major race with the men because the governing body said she was a woman. Seems like this is a no win situation for trans people that is a lot more about a certain kind of petty person who is very hung up on winning a local bike race than it is about trans folks who are just trying to ride bikes without someone wanting to have a closer look at their genitals. Thompson’s attitude isn’t appropriate for someone on the board of OBRA.

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      Chris I November 7, 2019 at 2:46 pm

      Are you proposing that we just eliminate gender racing categories?

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        Bjorn November 7, 2019 at 4:26 pm

        No but if we are going to have gender categories then people should be able to race in the category of their gender without having someone say hateful things to them, or want to examine them to make sure they have had the level of surgery that they consider necessary etc. I also think that anyone who is concerned that someone is going to pretend to be trans so they can win the women’s cross crusade championship needs to have their head examined, not just because that is clearly not what is happening, but also because it shows that they are a little too invested in who wins a bike race.

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          Chris I November 7, 2019 at 7:58 pm

          I’m not concerned with people pretending to be something they are not to win, I’m concerned about people with biological advantages competing against women.

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    Ian Sterry November 7, 2019 at 12:55 pm

    Inga Thompson’s commentary is straight TERF speak and not ok. Look it up. Trans rights are human rights!

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      Chris I November 8, 2019 at 8:43 am

      Instead of using an acronym and saying “look it up”, maybe you can just write out the words?

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    Jon November 7, 2019 at 1:00 pm

    At the last OBRA cyclocross race the top woman who just happens to be one of the top 3 women in the entire USA did lap times ranging from 8:28 to 8:34. That would put her around 5th in the 50+ men’s race or around 16th in the pro 1/2 men’s race. She won the women’s race by about 5 minutes which is huge. There are biological differences between men and women that put women at a dis-advantage against men in many strength/endurance events. Figuring out how to accommodate trans athletes is not an easy task and appears to be a work in progress. Fair and unbiased people can legitimately come to different conclusions. I hope that some way can be figured out allowing people born as women and trans athletes to both feel like they can compete on a fair playing field. Women that object to racing against trans athletes are not bigoted just for making a reasoned objection and trans athletes deserve a place to race and compete. Don’t look for any easy answers because there are not any.

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      Nate November 7, 2019 at 1:32 pm

      Jon, your response is spot on.

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    T November 7, 2019 at 1:47 pm

    Agreed, there are no easy answers. As a woman, I’m conflicted because this is AMATEUR bike racing and I believe the mental well-being and happiness of the community is more important than excluding a very small handful of trans women who would like to race and may not feel comfortable in the men’s fields (still 99% aggro men, no matter how many have been renamed to ‘Open’ fields). But having lived my entire life oppressed in no small part by sexism on the basis of my biological sex, regardless of gender presentation (I am very much gnc in dress and appearance) I still believe that it is unfair for male cyclists whose bodies went through a male puberty to compete against women. It’s transGENDER — Gender is a collection of sex sterotypes; are we really saying that’s what makes a woman a woman? I’m not going to fight for trans women to be excluded from women’s fields because women’s cycling is already struggling as it is. But I cannot truly celebrate the victories of trans women in women’s fields.

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      PS November 7, 2019 at 2:36 pm

      Ah, clear as mud. Gender is a collection of “sex stereotypes” and it is important for everyone to be comfortable in their gender, except for, the “aggro men”, who may make people feel uncomfortable with the way their body processes testosterone in a competitive environment. Got it.

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        T November 7, 2019 at 2:55 pm

        Really not sure what you’re trying to say here. Gender is a social construct. I want people to feel comfortable in their physical bodies and not suffer from body dysmorphia (which is a product of a sexist world).
        The men’s fields can be intimidating. Gender does not influence testosterone levels. Do you understand the difference between gender and sex?

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          PS November 8, 2019 at 10:07 am

          What I am trying to say, and was attempting to be diplomatic, is, you’re ***INSULT DELETED BY MODERATOR – Please choose a different way to express that next time. Thanks – Jonathan.*** You say you want people to be comfortable in their physical bodies, yet you also say that the men’s fields can be intimidating because they are made up of “99% aggro men”, which is just a manifestation of those men being comfortable in their physical bodies. So, what you are actually saying is you want some people to be comfortable in their physical bodies because the way another person might be can be uncomfortable…

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    rain panther November 7, 2019 at 2:03 pm

    My understanding is that at the elite levels there are stricter rules in place based around hormone levels, while the non-elite categories are self-selecting. So it’s not exactly a free for all.

    And, Rudi, it seems contradictory to say “The linked story is clearly satire.” and then in the next sentence “It’s hard even to see how it’s “anti-transgender” since it doesn’t mention gender once.” What is the focus of this so-called satire, if not transgender athletes? Personally, I found the article repulsive in its attempt to demean.

    It seems like lots of us are seriously at a loss when it comes to even the most basic understanding of what transgender means in this context. I think the idea that there’s a big problem with cis men dressing up as women to win some random cyclocross races is pretty much a fantasy.

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    Bike Guy November 7, 2019 at 2:21 pm

    PS
    Very well put. The w/kg at FTP suggestion is far and away the best leveler of the playing field in a competitive setting. Frankly, it would be awesome to be in a race with other men, women, etc. all with 4.0 w/kg FTPs. Of course, determining the FTP of any given competitor may be difficult, but in this conversation folks are having to evidence their testosterone content, so…Recommended 2

    Thank you. For my Watts/KGs @ FTP I know there will be people of all genders, stripes, and affiliations, riding along side me.

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    Rudi V November 7, 2019 at 2:23 pm

    ***THIS COMMENT HAS BEEN DELETED***

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      Rachel Cameron November 7, 2019 at 5:17 pm

      Jonathan, is this bad enough for you to moderate? Or is this just free speech, like my death threats?

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    JH November 7, 2019 at 3:04 pm

    This article is great. The comments though are rife with transphobic and straight up incorrect statements and should be nuked from orbit. You know Johnathan, not every article needs comments.

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      Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) November 7, 2019 at 4:25 pm

      point taken about the comments JH. But I think for issues like this it helps to see where other people are an having a space to share views is important. I am trying to moderate out the offensive comments. If there’s a particular one that concerns you please send me the link. Thanks.

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        JH November 7, 2019 at 6:08 pm

        Literally the comment above mine and below mine are unhelpful and transphobic. And having a place for people to share views doesn’t mean having a place for people to throw poop around. Misgendering someone intentionally is transphobic. Telling feminists to “take a beat and start blaming hetero white guys” and misgendering , again, is transphobic.

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          Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) November 7, 2019 at 7:09 pm

          I hear you JH. And I agree with some of your comment. I’m working to moderate right now. Thanks for sharing your feedback on this.

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        Rudi V November 7, 2019 at 9:48 pm

        Hi Johnathan-

        Firstly, as one of the commenters who’s most likely the subject of calls for censorship of my comments, I’ve always appreciate your reluctance to do so, though I don’t doubt we have substantive political differences. So thanks.

        I get your point about the context of the linked piece. I don’t doubt that it was used to question or even mock orthodox progressive beliefs around transgenderism. That said, calling it “fake news” just doesn’t strike me as accurate. If that’s fake news so is The Onion, and SNL’s Weekend Update. Again, whether you find this funny or not it’s clearly satire and is not trying to pass itself off as real news, which is where i think the line should be.

        Apparently I spoke too soon and you’ve censored me. Sigh… for ever comment liberals censor, a new Trump voter gets her wings!

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    BikeRound November 7, 2019 at 5:56 pm

    ***This message has been deleted.***

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      Liz November 7, 2019 at 6:18 pm

      Hey BikeRound, are you a medical professional advanced in the area of intersex and transgender humans? If not, what makes you qualified to say what the parameters of gender and sex are? Who the hell are you to say who is and who is not a woman?

      I’m a 6ft tall, androgynous queer chick, who probably can’t physically have kids, am I a woman? Am I only a woman when I shave my arm pits?

      Jonathan, THIS is the type of transphobic mess you need to get way better at moderating. This is why BikePortland does not grow as an inclusive or diverse space.

      This shouldn’t be included in the discourse and I’m so disappointed that you give people like this dude space.

      “I support the queers and all but if women don’t look like women then I R UPSET.”

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    BikeRound November 7, 2019 at 6:36 pm

    Unlike you apparently, I believe that we should have freedom of speech, and I support your right to speak even if I disagree with it.

    Now, let’s discuss your points. It appears that you believe that the race administrators do not have the capability to distinguish between men and women for the purposes of categorizing applicants into these two categories. In that case, the logical conclusion would be that there is no point in having any bifurcations of the racing field, and everyone should be lumped into just one combined bucket.

    In reality, in the case of the vast majority of humans, deciding if a given individual is a man or a woman is completely straightforward and uncontroversial. While intersex individuals, who make up a miniscule portion of humankind, could present genuine challenges, those people who call themselves transgender do not fall into this category.

    In the specific case of Rachel McKinnon, *** THIS PORTION OF THE COMMENT HAS BEEN DELETED ***

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      Bjorn November 7, 2019 at 7:00 pm

      Behaving like a bigot is doing little to convince anyone that there is the slightest shred of validity to your argument.

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        BikeRound November 7, 2019 at 7:07 pm

        I am not sure how to respond to that. Do you have any arguments to support your position that you could outline for us?

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          Bjorn November 7, 2019 at 7:40 pm

          I have no intention of repeating the things you said to refute them especially since they have been deleted by the moderator.

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            BikeRound November 8, 2019 at 6:46 am

            My guess is that a poll would show that a majority of Americans agree with what I am saying. But even if I am wrong, and, say, it is only 25%, wouldn’t you want to explain to those people how their thinking went awry? It is for the same reason that I don’t understand all of this censoring either. Erroneous views will not be modified if its opponents do not have a chance to respond.

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              Bjorn November 8, 2019 at 2:53 pm

              Who is talking about erroneous views, I am talking about the insults, the intentional misgendering in areas unrelated to sports, the personal attacks on specific transgender people who you called both by name and by slurs. These are the things that were removed by the moderator, mean spirited insults, not “views”. None of this is helping your case, especially when your statements make it clear that for you this is not just about the narrow question of what bicycle race a person should enter.

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    Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) November 7, 2019 at 7:08 pm

    Hi everyone, I’m turning comments off for the night because I’ve fallen behind on moderating them. I am sorry for that. I will go through these and do the moderation and re-open the comments up Friday 11/7 before noon. I appreciate everyone’s participation here and I regret that some insensitive comments have been posted.

    UPDATE, 7:18pm: I’ve moderated a few comments and will re-open the comments. I’ve also changed the settings so that every comment must get my approval before it is posted (something I don’t usually have turned on because I have faith in our community and I value discussion and want it to happen as freely as possibly).

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    Cari November 8, 2019 at 4:10 am

    You know she’s fast, but did you know she’s a doctor??

    http://www.rachelmckinnon.com/publications.html

    I recommend Including Trans Women in Sport: Analyzing Principles and Policies in Fairness and Competition
    And there’s a video??
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=6rpEO8KJDi4

    If anyone suggesting that trans women don’t have a right to compete, do you understand that she gets death threats? Do you have any evidence to suggest even a single man is masquerading as a woman for gain? Do you even understand how traumatic it is to be a trans woman in sport?

    https://www.google.com/amp/s/thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/466939-transgender-cyclist-responds-to-trump-jr-criticizing-her-womens%3famp

    Thanks to the people who are keeping an open mind. Maybe your social life doesn’t really overlap the queer scene.

    We need to protect trans women.

    Full stop. Being a trans woman literally means your life is in danger, and identifying where this hate comes from must be a goal. Every trans woman I know gets regular harassment from complete strangers and threats against their lives on the internet. It is violence.

    https://www.hrc.org/resources/violence-against-the-transgender-community-in-2019

    Yeah, it’s about a bike race. But it’s also about being protected by the law! Protective laws are literally being stripped from trans women. Lives and rights are at stake here, too. Sport is culture. and yes, that includes necessary occasional unpacking of violence in deep processing on the internet for anyone who thinks this conversation is unnecessary. These beliefs that drive this violence come from somewhere. even misinformed ppl who are simply unwilling to do the research spread anti trans sentiment.

    Seriously examine yourself before you step up and challenge this.

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      Dead Salmon November 11, 2019 at 9:34 pm

      Cari said:
      “We need to protect trans women.

      Full stop. Being a trans woman literally means your life is in danger, and identifying where this hate comes from must be a goal. Every trans woman I know gets regular harassment from complete strangers and threats against their lives on the internet. It is violence.”

      Can we agree that we need to protect every person, not just particular groups? The law attempts to do that. It is illegal to threaten or harm anyone. People of every type are threatened and killed every day in every location where people exist, not only by other people, but by animals, and even by their own governments. That’s why the founders of the USA in the Declaration of Independence, said that your right to self defense is an unalienable right, given to you by the Creator, and then said in the Second Amendment that the government could not infringe upon your Creator-given right to bear arms for your defense and for the defense of the nation. Those imperfect, white, slave owning men, were being harassed and killed by the English government, and they’d had enough of it, so they gave everything to create a nation where we could be free; and today liberals are VERY busy trying to destroy that nation. That’s sad.

      DOI: http://www.ushistory.org/declaration/document/index.html
      2A: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rhBwHiLcTG8

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    Rudi V November 8, 2019 at 8:05 am

    Let me try a different tact here and point out two mutually exclusive elements of the leftist catechism, neither of which are allowed to be questioned:

    1. Homosexuality is biologically determined. Gay people are “born this way”. OK. But as yet there is no known biological determinate of sexual orientation or any known objective “test” or observation that can reliably determine a homosexual man or woman from a heterosexual one.

    2. “Gender” is NOT biologically determined, it is socially constructed. This despite the fact that there exist multiple, easily reproducible “tests” for determining the difference between a male and a female, most so simple that we are all able to reliably reproduce the same determinations dozens of times a day by sight or sound alone.

    What follows from these two beliefs is a bizarre pair of conclusions that all good progressives must nonetheless at least pretend to believe- homosexuals are born gay, but women are not born female.

    Let the ***INSULT DELETED BY MODERATOR*** of that sink in for a bit. Why should this biological birthright be extended to the former group and not the later? And why to the group with scant evidence for their claim over the one with copious evidence? This is not about “justice”, it’s about the power of a small group of activists to prevent everyone else from speaking or even thinking the truth. When they’re done with the transgendered community they’ll move on to something else.

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    Hickeymad November 8, 2019 at 8:30 am

    I’m hearing a lot of claims that speaking up about the patent unfairness of letting people who have all the physical advantages of male body development compete against women is equivalent to violence. That I think this is absurd isn’t a secret. Speech isn’t violence except in the case where it explicitly advocates it. Outside of this, speech is just speech; no matter how uncomfortable it makes a listener. We can call speech ugly or detestable, but equating it to violence leads to the slippery slope towards authoritarianism down which we seem to be hurtling at the present.

    I’ve no doubt that Actual physical violence against trans is actually a thing; but I’d like to pose a question- how much of that violence occurs in everyday life vs within the subset of the population that engages in prostitution? Note that I’m not engaging in excuse making here; all of that actual violence is obviously detestable. But I wonder what the statistics tell us about the actual violence experienced by these folks outside of the sex work industry. Can anyone point me to an answer to this? I do think that this is an important distinction, as a better understanding of the types of violence out there towards this community can help put this debate into some context.

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    Steve Scarich November 8, 2019 at 8:59 am

    Even though it is off-topic, the reporting in WW this week about the woman who repeatedly cheated in long distance running races, points out the ends that some people will go to, just achieve a result.

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    Hickeymad November 8, 2019 at 9:17 am

    I’ve got to admit that this issue is one that fascinates me; not least because it highlights the utter hypocrisy of the modern progressive way of viewing the world.

    I’m torn; one part of me wants to defend biological women, because they are the physically weaker sex and deserve some protections; including the right to compete in sporting events on a fair playing field. Of course saying this causes progressive heads to explode, but I’m old enough to still value chivalry even if it is in effect a form of misogyny.

    On the other hand there is a certain perverse pleasure In seeing the natural conclusion of progressive thought patterns play themselves out on this issue. That we are now in the position where womens sports is being destroyed by a handful of activists seems in part the fitting end to a decade of radical equity activism by many of the same women now complaining that equity is harmful.

    I can only hope that this juxtaposition opens a few minds to the arguments against radical equity, and the harm it causes society.

    The censorship of those with opinions such as mine is no surprise; progressives hate having their hypocrisies laid bare for the world to see. Censor away; rational people don’t need me to point these things out- it’s readily apparent even if people are afraid to speak these truths aloud in progressive spaces. Censorship does little but reinforce the worldview that a progressive world is one where freedoms are curtailed and oppression is rampant.

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      Brent November 8, 2019 at 2:03 pm

      ” … the utter hypocrisy of the modern progressive way of viewing the world.” Hyperbole much? Please tell us about your non-hypocritical and completely correct way of viewing the world.

      “…but I’m old enough to still value chivalry even if it is in effect a form of misogyny.” Oh wait, aren’t you just admitting that you sometimes have a hypocritical way of viewing the world too? Ok boomer.

      ” … I can only hope that this juxtaposition opens a few minds to the arguments against radical equity …” So just because this is a difficult issue that is still being worked out, all attempts at equality are useless and we should just leave the status quo alone?

      ” … , and the harm it causes society.” I think you mean, “, and the way it makes me feel uncomfortable.” Just for a moment try to imagine how society has harmed trans people over their lives. Just because the changes in society that are trying to correct that harm makes you feel uncomfortable, doesn’t justify going back to maintain the previous status quo.

      “The censorship of those with opinions such as mine is no surprise; progressives hate having their hypocrisies laid bare for the world to see. … Censorship does little but reinforce the worldview that a progressive world is one where freedoms are curtailed and oppression is rampant. ” There’s that hyperbole again along with a splash of ego fragility and victimization. When people disagree with you, that’s not censorship. When people demand apologies from people who make offensive statements, that’s not censorship either.

      There are non-offensive ways to discuss trans issues. Your opinion (buried in a hyperbole, victimization, and patronization) seems to be that OBRA and other organizations with separate levels for women to compete need to develop some thoughtful rules or regulations to make sure there is a “fair playing field” when it comes to trans women athletes. I hereby soothe your ego by validating that legitimate opinion. Many other commenters said the same thing without all your additional divisive and offensive language.

      Please take this critique to heart and improve your ability discuss hard issues both online and in person. Our society is going to need people like you to maturely figure out the solutions to our problems. Throwing metaphorical bombs at people who are rightly and legitimately offended by the way society has hurt trans people will not work anymore. Your ego is your responsibility. If it is feeling bruised by the way people are talking about these issues, then take a step back and consider the physical bruises trans people have received over their lifetimes. Maybe then you can better judge who is in more need of soothing and comforting as we work through these issues.

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        Hickeymad November 8, 2019 at 3:16 pm

        I’m completely on board with the notion of greater civility when having these conversations. Though my comments are meant to be provocative I do feel that they remain within the bounds of civility. You’ll note that I attack ideas, not people.

        One of the ideas I’m fond of criticizing is the double standard that progressives use when calling for civility. Look at this thread for instance; how many times have people here accused other people of being bigots? Is that a civil way of having a conversation? Is that respectful of other people’s opinions? Obviously not, yet you attack only those whose Notions are in conflict with your own while conveniently ignoring the the bombs thrown by those with whom you agree. It’s infuriating; and my language reflects the inherent unfairness of that situation.

        What’s more; none of the language I use causes any real harm other than to fragile egos. Calling someone a bigot however can have real life repercussions. We’ve seen the results of this here with someone potentially losing their position at OBRA. That is often explicitly the purpose of throwing out words like “racist, bigot, etc”. To destroy and shut down those you disagree with.

        So; civility. I’m all for it. I’ll await your call-out for uncivil behavior from those whose opinions you agree with. Until then I’ll feel free to yet again point out the hypocrisy inherent in progressive rhetoric.

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      joan November 8, 2019 at 3:53 pm

      Wow, we’re the weaker sex and need your protection? Maybe just take a seat until you hear us asking for it. I’m far more worried about transphobic cis men than transgender women. I’ve faced a lot more problems in my life from cis men than from any transgender person, ever.

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    GNnorth November 8, 2019 at 12:58 pm

    Kenlan rocks, and so does OBRA. I drive all the way down from BC to do the road race schedule and his leadership along with the awesome volunteers makes it so worth it.

    The wattage issue may be the only real solution. Would be seriously mixing up the fields on the start line, but maybe that’s a good thing? There’s one kid who’s only 16 and kicks my ass regularly, damn him! 😉

    I think I understand Inga’s frustration but she obviously hasn’t handled it well at all and I don’t see her getting anywhere so encompass the trans racers and move on.

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    joan November 8, 2019 at 1:59 pm

    I do wonder why it’s often men who seem to be the most agitated about “protecting” cis women from transgender women, whether we’re talking about bathrooms or in elite racing. The fact is, as Hello, Kitty and others note above, athletes competing at elite levels typically have significant physical advantages over competitors even when born cis; when these natural talents (whether they’re from hormone levels, height, body shape, foot size, whatever) are supplemented with extensive training and a good diet, they will likely perform better than the rest of us no matter how much training we do.

    As Rachel McKinnon notes herself, she loses a lot more than she wins–and there’s only controversy when she wins, not when she loses. Her testosterone levels are quite low, below the average level for cis females.

    This VeloNews article has an interesting perspective on all this, and I really encourage everyone to read it if you are truly interested in the issue (and not just reacting out of fear or anger):
    https://www.velonews.com/2018/10/news/commentary-the-complicated-case-of-transgender-cyclist-dr-rachel-mckinnon_480285

    From that piece:

    “Imagine a young girl who is incredibly tall and will someday stand well above six feet. Should she pursue gymnastics or diving, her height may be a hindrance, and she will likely never score top results. Should she pursue volleyball, however, her height will be an incredible competitive advantage. After thousands of hours of hard work and training, she may even reach the Olympics.

    Now, imagine a young girl who was born into a male’s body. At some point in her life, she transitions to become female, yet elements of her male anatomy remain. Should this young girl pursue a sport like gymnastics or the pole vault, her physiology may hold her back. Nobody will raise concerns over unfair advantages, should she pursue these sports. But, what if this girl chooses cycling or weightlifting or some other sport where here unique physiology gives her a competitive advantage?

    Is her anatomy something to be looked at the same way society views the tall girl’s height? Or, is it something to be punished?”

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      Hickeymad November 8, 2019 at 4:07 pm

      The obvious fallacy in your claim that people are only concerned when a trans athlete wins is that even when a trans athlete doesn’t take first place they still have obvious advantages over those they beat, regardless of their position on the leader board. It doesn’t get the attention that a podium position would but you can bet that many women remain upset. Women (cis gendered- am I getting this terminology correct.? I’m trying…) have every right to be concerned about this.

      Athletes should be celebrated regardless of their gender, none of these concerns is meant to diminish the athletic achievements of the non-cis gendered crowd. I for one love watching everybody race; I just feel bad for those cis-gendered women competing because it just seems unfair that they have to compete against (former – man this is cumbersome) men who transition to women. Apparently they don’t even have to transition; compounding the insult even.

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    x November 8, 2019 at 2:02 pm

    I’m a trans-woman that raced in OBRA for many years. AFAIK, no one knew and I didn’t tell anyone.

    OBRA: I always felt OBRA was a pretty safe place. I believe they’ll get this issue sorted out soon.

    Is there really an epidemic of trans women winning women’s bike races? I doubt it. If you could get actual data on the ratio of trans-women-winning-races to trans-women-entering-races it’d be pretty similar to non-trans-women. Of course, this is impossible because most trans-women fly under the radar because they’re not out or not winning races. This comes up whenever a trans-woman wins a highish-profile race.

    Did I personally have an advantage? I started racing ~10 years after transition. I didn’t feel I had a physical advantage. I certainly didn’t win a lot of races – lol! If I trained well, I could do well in certain types of races. If I didn’t train well, I was a pretty useless racer. And on some types of races I was just never competitive.

    Fairness: No one enjoys going to a race series and having the same person dominate week in and week out (regardless of trans-ness). That’s why there are ability categories. When one person dominates, they get bumped up to a harder category. So this is really only a concern for the tippy-top categories where you can’t get any higher. This is not where most racers compete.

    Being trans just to win? Seems exceedingly unlikely to me. Transitioning and identifying as trans is/was a huge life change. It’s not something you can turn on/off. Sheesh.

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      joan November 8, 2019 at 3:50 pm

      Thanks so much for sharing your experience as a trans-woman racer with OBRA. This is very helpful perspective, and I’m so glad to hear OBRA was a pretty safe place for you.

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    Hickeymad November 8, 2019 at 2:31 pm

    I understand your points about civility. However I also think that you overlook the much more damaging “bombs” being thrown by some of the activists here throwing out words like bigotry Willy-nilly. This double standard is exactly why I speak the way I do. Want that to change; then get a handle on the radicals within your own midst.

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      joan November 8, 2019 at 3:49 pm

      Calling someone a “bigot” is not throwing a bomb. Misgendering someone — that’s a bomb. There are people here insisting that “men” are pretending to be transgender women in order to win races. That seems a lot more radical than calling out transphobia.

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      Bjorn November 8, 2019 at 4:28 pm

      @hickeymad, I used the term “behaving like a bigot” with respect to 2 comments both posted by the same person, both of which ended up being moderated, one completely removed, the other half removed. I absolutely stand by what I said, the comments in question were closer to schoolyard insults and for the most part had little to do with the discussion of bike racing, both being more focused on insulting specific people and demeaning being trans in general. I did not call the person who said them a bigot, but the hateful things that they had to say were the kinds of statements that I would expect from a bigot and they still are.

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    Hickeymad November 8, 2019 at 5:53 pm

    Here’s what I think should happen here; if OBRA and women’s sports in general can’t figure this out, then somebody with love in their heart for all things cis-female should register in a women’s category with the specific intention of pushing the OBRA rules to their limit; past the point where they break. It doesn’t matter which category so long as they are strong and fit enough to place near the top.

    It’s going to have to be a person with the fortitude to withstand the inevitable insults and hatred that will no doubt be directed their way. It has to be somebody with a career solid enough or a self-employed person or else nothing to lose, Because without a doubt there are forces out there that will do everything in their power to destroy him.

    OBRA would no doubt try to stop this. I’m not a legal expert; I wonder if there could be a retaliatory lawsuit invade against the organization when they tried.

    Somebody needs to stand up for the (cis-gendered) ladies and put an end to this travesty of fairness. I see a lot of white night behavior out there in the world; men Instinctively jumping to the defense of every damsel they deem distressed. Well; here’s your chance gentlemen; An actual honest to God chance to truly defend the women you love and their ability to compete on a level playing field.

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      x November 8, 2019 at 8:33 pm

      It’s not like OBRA needs to “figure it out”. There are well established guidelines set by USA cycling and other organizations:

      http://www.obra.org/pdfs/2019_racing_rules_ammended.pdf
      See Section 20

      https://www.usacycling.org/about-us/governance/transgender-athletes-policy

      Even for amateur racing you can’t just walk up to a random race and say you’re a woman. Rather, You need to change your “everyday life” to that of a woman and get government IDs. If you or others want to do all that in the name of “defending women”, have a great time with that. I’m guessing you might learn some interesting things along the way.

      If you want to race as a woman at elite levels, live as a woman for 1 year (obra) or 4 years (USA cycling) with very low testosterone. Any volunteers? No? Oh well…

      The women I met bike racing are some of the hardest core, toughest, people out there. They don’t need your defense. The vast majority of them are also super nice and inclusive.

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      x November 8, 2019 at 9:11 pm

      There’s not a lot to “figure out” here. Well established guidelines already exist for a male-to-female transgender athletes:

      https://www.obra.org/pdfs/2019_racing_rules_ammended.pdf
      See section 20

      https://s3.amazonaws.com/USACWeb/myusac/include/documents/USACPolicyVII_TransgenderAthletes20170609.pdf

      For non-elite athletes, before competing as a woman one first needs to live “everyday life” as a woman and get female government IDs.

      For elite athletes, one *also* needs to live with very low testosterone for 1 year prior to competition (and through duration of competition).

      If Hickeymad or others want to go out and do all that so you can “stand up for the (cis-gendered) ladies”, have fun with that. I’m guessing you might learn some things along the way. What? No volunteers? Oh well…

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      Eric H November 9, 2019 at 11:51 am

      Well, it looks like you still have time to pre-register for tomorrow’s OBRA CX championship race if you want to come out from behind your keyboard to show us all exactly what you think needs to be done.

      We’ll see you out there tomorrow, right?

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    Hickeymad November 8, 2019 at 10:17 pm

    Honestly it seems to me that any description you give me outside of those two biological characteristics aren’t sufficient to define e womanhood. You might say appearance; but there’s plenty of woman that present masculine…that are still women. Just about any description of Femininity you can give me I can find exceptions to; and many of the things some people might describe (Moody, passivity, emotional etc) are landmines; if I said them I’d have hoards I’d angry feminists denouncing me.

    This kind of gets to the heart of the entire matter; does it not?

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    Mike R November 10, 2019 at 8:05 am

    I think what is most disappointing for me about this discussion is how much petty and dehumanizing talk is coming from the so-called ‘progressive’ side. Rather than address the honest concerns of people, especially women, who are uncomfortable with the idea of male-bodied individuals competing with women, many on this board have resorted to cheap name-calling.
    TERF is a way to denigrate women who are uncomfortable with male bodied people being in certain spaces. It’s a way to reduce them to a label without having to address the very real fears and concerns that some women have.
    Bigot and transphobe are slurs used to strip away all of someone’s being and reduce them to a caricature. It allows you to feel you’ve taken the moral high ground without actually doing anything virtuous.
    These words have all been used to describe Ms Thompson painting an overly simplistic, black and white portrait. It allows you to ignore that she is a woman, an athlete, a cyclist. That given her age, I suspect she has spent decades fighting for there to be competitive women’s cycling at all. Given the sport she has competed in, I suspect she has endured sexism and harassment, the likes of which the younger bikeportland readers can only imagine. Instead, you have reduced all of that to, “bigot”. And that is shameful.

    One final thought, I’m sure there has been discussion about where trans people fit into the sports world for a long time but, it is only in the last few years that it is something the broader culture has had to come to terms with. It is supremely arrogant to look at someone who has not or, has not yet, come to the same conclusions you have and label them ‘bigot’. Not everyone adapts to social change in the same way and at the same pace. Name-calling is a pretty reactionary way to deal with that face.

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      joan November 12, 2019 at 10:27 am

      Cis women do not need protecting from trans women. Or trans men. Or non-binary or gender queer people. Our trans sisters are some of the most vulnerable people. Comments like the ones here only make it worse for women who are already in very difficult situations.

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    Liz November 11, 2019 at 4:27 pm

    lol @ even trying to say TERF, bigot, or transphobe–labels which are used to describe people with abusive beahvior, are even close to being slurs. TERFs are not ashamed to call themselves TERFs, it stands for trans exclusionary radical feminist, which is exactly that they are.

    Quick count- how many folks have been murdered for being a TERF? A bigot? A transphobe? The answer is effectively zero, meanwhile, 2019 isn’t even over and there have been over 23 documented murders of trans folks. They are mostly Black Womxn and Womxn of color and that list is not exhaustive. Say their names.

    Dana Martin, 31
    Ellie Marie Washtock, 38
    Jazzaline Ware
    Ashanti Carmon, 27
    Claire Legato, 21
    Muhlaysia Booker, 23
    Michelle “Tamika” Washington, 40
    Paris Cameron, 20
    Chynal Lindsey, 26
    Johana Medina Leon, 25
    Chanel Scurlock, 23
    Zoe Spears, 23
    Brooklyn Lindsey, 32
    Denali Berries Stuckey, 29
    Tracy Single 22
    Kiki Factory, 21
    Pebbles LaDime Doe, 24
    Jordan Cofer, 22
    Bailey Reeves, 17
    Bee Love Slater, 23
    Elisha Chanel Stanley, 46
    Itali Marlowe, 29
    Brianna “BB” Hill, 30

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      Jackie November 12, 2019 at 7:20 pm

      For anyone who said “I’m not transphobic” I hope you’ve all marked your calendars for the upcoming annual Trans Day of Rememberance on the 20th and plan on either going to a nearby memorial for all the trans folks who’ve been murdered, or educating yourselves with writings by trans authors, or donating to an org that advocates for trans people (No, HRC doesn’t count), or all three of those things.

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