26 November 2019

Ex-British cyclist Philippa York believes idea of transgender people taking over sport is 'ridiculous'

Ex-British cyclist Philippa York says the concept of transgender people taking over women's sport is "absolutely ridiculous". 

Competing as Robert Millar before transitioning in 1995, York won the "King of the Mountains" competition in the 1984 Tour de France and finished fourth overall. She was considered at the time one of the most successful British cyclists of all time. 

"I find this idea that transgender people are going to take over sport absolutely ridiculous. Since the early noughties, there hasn't been an out transgender person who has competed at the Olympics. Out of 20,000 competitors, not one is trans," said York.

She believes it could be another century until the sporting world sees openly trans athletes.

"It's certainly not going to be the next Olympics. Getting elite Olympians is probably the final frontier for equality."

York says that there is not an equal playing field in the first place and that it depends on your country's funding and facilities which then leads to success.

"If we look at how sport can be a disadvantageous playing field, we need to look at the systems some countries have in place to help their athletes.

"If you're a full time athlete with medical backup, a support system and you're from a country that can afford to sponsor your training, then you have far more of a chance to succeed. No-one talks about that, and that's way more advantageous than your gender."

York is currently going through menopause and says she would be "30 per cent stronger if she hadn't transitioned. And at this moment she says she has the "same level of strength as a gran".

The 60 year-old said: "A lot of people think your testosterone levels are high if you are a transgender woman, but in fact your testosterone levels crash. Competing as a trans person means you will actually struggle to be as strong, or as fast, as a cisgender competitor. But that information doesn’t seem to be out there."

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