A transgender mountain biker who quickly started dominating women’s races after transitioning has said it is “horrifying” that new rules are banning trans athletes, insisting they are not “ruining women’s sports.”
New Zealand racer Kate Weatherly, 24, spoke out while attacking new rules from the world swimming’s governing body, FINA, that would ban her from competing if also applied to mountain bikers.
“People talk about the fact that we’re coming in and ruining women’s sports — but there are way bigger issues that women’s sports face,” Weatherly insisted to 1 News.
“The idea that a few trans women coming into a sport – and often times not even winning – and that’s what’s going to ruin women’s sports is pretty horrifying,” she said.
Weatherly’s own transition to women’s events, however, got off to a spectacular start when she made the jump in 2018, a profile by Stuff noted at the time.
Despite finishing mid-pack in the men’s open division, a grade down from elite, she won her first race as a female by more than 30 seconds, the 2018 profile noted, beating a former junior world number two who was one of many critics who attacked her unfair advantage.
Weatherly then won the national championships in the elite women’s division — higher than she had competed at during a male — a victory she repeated in 2019.
At the time, Weatherly insisted that the difference was largely due to the hormone blockers she’d been taking since 17 crushing her chances while still in the men’s division.
“I was losing strength and losing speed on tracks even though I was training and riding really hard,” she said at the time.
“It was demoralizing – you’re trying to push yourself as far as you can but you’re going slower and slower.”
In an Instagram post this week, she insisted that hormone replacement therapy leaves trans women with “little to no testosterone, potentially less than our cis competitors, increasing recovery times and making building muscle/bond density significantly harder.”
“Because people are so focused on the advantages, they kind of ignore the fact that there actually are disadvantages that also come along with a transition,” she told 1 News.
She complained that FINA’s rules were too “cut and dry” and “essentially ban trans women from being able to compete.”
Suggestions for separate divisions merely “continues to ‘other’ trans people,” Weatherly complained.
It was part of an ugly approach of “trying to separate trans women from cis women — when we are all women,” she said.
“Beyond all of this, as a society we need to build understanding and acceptance for queer people before we should even worry about sports,” she insisted on Instagram.