A transgender cyclist has won a major women’s race in the US in what is believed to be a first for cycling.
Jillian Bearden, 36, became the first transgender athlete to win El Tour de Tucson in southern Arizona, U.S.A. A Colorado Springs native who has been competing professionally for 10 years, Bearden, who identifies as a woman, said the win is “absolutely huge” for transgender people who wish to compete against athletes of the same gender identity.
“We’re at a moment of time — especially now — where not only do we have to come out but we have to be positive,” the cyclist told the Arizona Daily Star. “We have to come together in solidarity and move this country in a direction that is accepting of all.”
Bearden’s time ranked 38th among both male and female solo cyclists. She rode for the Southern Arizona Gender Alliance in order to promote transgender inclusion in cycling.
Earlier this year the IOC said transgender athletes in all sports should be permitted by national federations to compete in the Olympics and international events without undergoing sex reassignment surgery.
Those transgender athletes born as female but who identify as male should be allowed, according to the IOC guidelines, to compete in men’s events without any restriction.