Two trans-identified males dominated a women’s category at the Illinois State Cyclocross Championships yesterday, leading many women’s rights advocates to condemn the tournament for allowing men to self-identify into the women’s divisions.
The Illinois State Cyclocross Championships was held at Montrose Beach on December 3, representing the final challenge in the eight-race Chicago CycloCross Cup. As with other events in the Cup, the event comprised of over one dozen different competitions for men, women, and junior athletes.
But two trans-identified males topped the podium in the Women’s Singlespeed category, taking home medals set aside for female racers. Tessa Johnson and Evelyn Williamson placed first and second, respectively, in the competition, leaving space for only one biological woman – Kristin Chalmers – on the podium.
Johnson also participated in the Women’s Category 1/2 race, placing third and winning $100 in prize money.
According to the Chicago CrossCup’s website, the competition prides itself on “first and foremost fostering a positive & supportive community built around competitive cyclocross racing,” continuing: “That means welcoming and challenging everyone who wants to contribute to the series and make it better in that regard.”
In its official FAQ on the topic of transgender cyclists, the Cup notes that “discrimination or harassment of any kind on the basis of race, color, religion, age, gender, sexual orientation, gender identification, national origin, or any other stupid idea someone comes up with to belittle another racer will not be tolerated at [our] events and may result in disqualification.”
On X (formerly Twitter), news of Johnson and Williamson’s victories was shared by user @i_heart_bikes, an anonymous female cyclist who frequently calls out males self-identifying as “women” in the sport. In response, many women’s rights advocates and sports enthusiasts condemned the competition for allowing the men to participate.
“Cycling has been my refuge since I was a little girl. This makes me sick to my stomach and full of rage,” another said in response to the news.
One woman’s rights advocate even went so far as to edit Johnson and Williamson out of the podium photo, placing female racer Kristin Chalmers onto the top spot.
Fixed it pic.twitter.com/d6EM61DWxr— Margo 🏃♀️ (@is_a_woman) December 4, 2023
This is not the first time that Johnson and Williamson dominated the podium at the Chicago CycloCross Cup. In October, the two also took gold and silver in the Women’s Singlespeed, similarly leaving the only female on the podium with bronze. Johnson also took first place in the Women’s Category 1/2 race, earning him $150 in prize money.
Both Johnson and Williamson have been racing in women’s cycling for years, with Williamson collecting 18 first place titles in races across the country since 2017.
In September, Reduxx reported that Johnson and Williamson competed as a team in two separate women’s races in Illinois, taking first place in both of them. During one of the competitions, Williamson and Johnson competed under the team name “TS-ESTRODOLLS,” a reference to cross-sex hormones.
Johnson and Williamson celebrated their initial first place win on August 27 after their victory at the xXx Racing-Athletic Relay Cross in Chicago. The two men surpassed nine pairs of women for first place.
Just days later on August 31, Johnson and Williamson beat out two teams of women at the Ed Rudolph Velodrome during the State Championship in Madison.
Williamson is reportedly in a polyamorous relationship with Austin Killips, another trans-identified male cyclist who has become notorious for his frequent participation in women’s competitions. Killips has similarly taken several first place wins in women’s categories and has forced at least one woman out of the sport after targeting her with physical aggression during a race.
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