This weekend, a biological male who identifies as a transgender woman and who won a global cycling championship last year complained about how “toxic masculinity” makes women feel uncomfortable. Some feminists found this remarkably ironic.
“Toxic masculinity includes not being able to recognize when women are deeply uncomfortable with your behavior or presence,” Rachel McKinnon, an assistant professor of philosophy at the College of Charleston in South Carolina, tweeted. McKinnon became infamous for winning the gold medal in the women’s 35-54 age group in the 2018 Masters Track Cycling World Championships.
“It’s definitely NOT fair,” Jennifer Wagner, the third-place finisher from Houston, Texas, said in a tweet responding to British conservative Katie Hopkins. Hopkins tweeted an image of the three cyclists on the championship podium. “For clarity — this was the WOMENS world championships. I repeat. Women’s. Congratulations to the brave faces of silver and bronze. The world is gripped by febrile madness,” Hopkins had tweeted.
Carolien van Herrikhuyzen, a silver medalist in another age group from the Netherlands, defended McKinnon. “No one is a transgender to steal anyone’s medal,” she tweeted. “We had an honest race under the UCI rules. If you compete you accept the rules, otherwise, don’t compete.”
Wagner responded, “Just because CURRENT UCI rule doesn’t mean it[‘s] fear or right. And rules can be changed.”
Feminists responded with similar outrage after McKinnon attacked “toxic masculinity.”
“‘Rachel’ McKinnon is a man who has transjacked women’s cycling competitions without regard for how deeply uncomfortable real women are with his behavior or presence,” Kaeley Triller Harms, co-founder of Hands Across the Aisle Women’s Coalition, posted on Facebook Sunday.
Kellie-Jay Keen-Minshull, also known as Posie Parker, the founder of the global women’s rights group Standing For Women, would not say McKinnon was himself an example of toxic masculinity. She attacked “toxic masculinity” as an “absurd term.” Yet she did not spare McKinnon from criticism.
“I would just say that McKinnon is a vile entitled nasty man,” Keen-Minshull said.
Many feminists have grown more outspoken against the trend of biological men competing in women’s sports. Former Olympic swimmer Sharron Davies has warned that many female athletes keep silent about the injustice for fear of retribution — getting kicked off of teams. She also condemned the victory of biological male Mary Gregory in women’s weightlifting.
While transgender activists like McKinnon argue that the natural range of testosterone in women does reach high levels, they ignore the key fact that males with X and Y chromosomes experience higher levels of testosterone from the womb onwards. This changes the basic chemistry and body shape of their bodies, giving an inherent advantage in many sports. There are excellent reasons to exclude biological males from women’s sports, even if they undergo some form of feminizing “transition.” Men and women are physically different, and no amount of social engineering can change that.
Follow Tyler O’Neil, the author of this article, on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.