Austin Killips, 26, is a transsexual road racing cyclist who competes internationally against women for the U.S.
Just days after transsexual Brian Nguyen beat out a group of women in a local Miss America beauty pageant, Killips competed in the UCI Elite Women cyclocross race.
On day one of the UCI Elite Women race, Killips placed first with a time of 50 minutes and 25 seconds.
The first woman to complete the race was Canadian racer Ava Holmgren, who secured second place with a time of 50 minutes and 26 seconds. Lizzy Gunsalus came in third.
Killips proved wanting on day two of the race, coming third after Raylyn Nuss and Lizzy Gunsalus, who came in first and second respectively.
This is not Killips' first time competing against women with the Rhode Island-based "nice bikes" team.
On Sept. 3, Killips placed first in the Northampton Cycling Club Hydra Cross Women Category 1/2/3 when competing in Holyoke, Massachusetts. In June, the cyclist placed 8th, getting beaten by 7 real women in the 2022 American National Championships.
According to CrossResults.com, Killips competed in 22 races in 2019, 21 races in 2021, and 15 races in 2022.
TrainerRoad reported that Killips started out as a full-time bicycle mechanic in Chicago. After getting immersed in the city's cyclocross racing culture, Killips bought a cyclocross bike and began competing in 2019.
Once already competing, Killips began "the physical process of gender transition" and has been undergoing hormone replacement therapy since.
Killips told CyclingTips: "I just really enjoyed this sport from the start. I come from a skiing and action sports background. In cross it's about finding lines and working around natural features like you do in skiing as well."
Killips is keenly aware that some people don't think men should work around natural features and compete against women in female sports. "It's half the country now involved in this culture war," said Killips. "It's a hot-button issue in right-wing politics."
In December 2021, CyclingTips reported that demonstrators representing the pro-woman group "Save Women's Sport" attended the U.S. cyclocross nationals in DuPage County, Illinois. Included in the messages on the signs held up by the protesters were "Say no to males competing as females" and "woman = adult human female."
Trans activists said the feminist sentiment created "an atmosphere or exclusion and threat."
Inclusion at the expense of women's sports
The UCI published rules governing the participating of transsexuals in its international events that were more restrictive than the International Olympic Committee's 2015 rules. In June, the UCI announced updates to those rules.
According to the UCI, the "principle of eligibility of transgender athletes (in particular female athletes, ie those who have made a transition from male to female) is based on the reversibility under low blood testosterone (the level commonly observed in 'born female' athletes) of the physiological abilities that determine sports performance, and on the time needed to achieve this reversibility."
The UCI cited scientific publications that indicated "female level" endurance capacity occurs within "six to eight months under low blood testosterone, while the awaited adaptations in muscle mass and muscle strength/power take much longer (two years minimum according to a recent study)."
Accordingly, the UCI noted that as of July 1 it would require a "transition period on low testosterone" of 24 months and a maximum permitted blood testosterone level of 2.5 nmol/L, corresponding with the "maximum testosterone level found in 99.99% of the female population."
The purpose of these rules, which evidently did not prohibit Killips from participating, is to maintain "fairness, equal opportunities and the safety of competitions."
Cycling Weekly indicated that these rules might ultimately exclude some biological men from competing with women — transsexual riders like "Emily" Bridges, who couldn't hack it in competition with other men.
Bridges began identifying as a woman in October 2020. While working toward qualifying to compete in the female category, he got crushed in men's races, placing 43rd out of 45 at the Loughborough Cycling Festival.
Bridges said, "I just want to race and race competitively again."
While displacing biological women, Killips hopes that "more women get the opportunity to make cycling a job. With the Women’s WorldTour more women can do so now – but this has not always been the reality, especially here in the U.S. With more money and resources allocated the right way we will soon see the level rise even more."