A man won the elite women’s race at an international cyclocross tournament in Massachusetts on Saturday.
Austin Killips, a transgender-identifying man, displaced 43 women in the UCI Elite Women Race competition on the first day of the Northampton International Cyclocross. He completed the race in 50 minutes and 25 seconds, according to the results. Killips was awarded the victor’s trophy and was photographed on the top ceremonial pedestal next to second-place cyclist Ava Holmgren, who finished the race one second behind Killips, and third-place cyclist Lizzy Gunsalus, who had a time of 50:31. The second- and third-place finishers are women.
The next day, Killips placed third on the second day of the UCI Elite Women Race. The week before, he placed third at the Women Pro Race at the Really Rad Festival of Cyclocross Day 2, another event held in Massachusetts.
In addition to cycling professionally, Killips has an online blog called Estro Junkie, which he calls “a newsletter about the intersection of sports and queer theory.”
Killips’s win comes amid a growing movement to “save women’s spaces,” including athletic competitions, locker rooms, and prisons, from transgender intrusion. Many women’s-rights activists were outraged this past year at the case of University of Pennsylvania male swimmer Lia Thomas, who has competed with and against women. At the NCAA women’s swimming championships, he placed in the top eight in all three of his individual events, including a first-place finish in the 500-yard freestyle, defeating some female Olympic medalists. In July, his Ivy League college nominated him for the 2022 NCAA Woman of the Year award.
Some professional athletes have spoken out about the unfairness of including men in women’s sports. For example, Caroline Wilson, a 14-time Ironman finisher and a three-time Ironman World Championship qualifier/finisher, crossed the finished line of the Ironman World Championship earlier this month while carrying a flag that read, “Save Women’s Sports.” Her Twitter bio has that hashtag, in addition to #SexBasedRights.
“Me crossing the Ironman World Championship with my save women’s sports flag. Doing what I can!!!!,” she tweeted.