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UCI world cyclocross championships under fire due to anti-trans laws in host state Arkansas

Cycling journalist Tara Seplavy has boycotted the event, saying she doesn’t “feel personally safe going to Arkansas right now as a visibly trans person”

As the world cyclocross championships come to a close this evening, the UCI’s decision to stage the event in Fayetteville, Arkansas has come under fire due to the state’s anti-trans legislation.

In April 2021, Arkansas became the first state to ban gender-affirming treatments and surgery for transgender youth. Later that month Brook Watts, a longstanding cyclocross promoter in the United States, resigned from his role as organiser of the Fayetteville world championships in protest against the new law. 

“The situation in Arkansas remains problematic and unfortunately, I don’t see any satisfactory resolution,” Watts said at the time. “I have sincerely but unsuccessfully attempted to work out my concerns and differences with constituents. However, regrettably, we were not successful”.

At the US national cyclocross championships in December, anti-trans activists representing a group called ‘Save Women’s Sport’ staged a protest, shouting and holding signs opposing transgender participation during the women’s race. 

USA Cycling was heavily criticised for not taking adequate action to prevent the protest taking place at the event in DuPage County, Illinois, with trans rights supporters saying that the governing body did not facilitate a safe and inclusive environment for all competitors and spectators.

> British Cycling launch consultation on transgender policy

Tara Seplavy, the deputy editor of Bicycling Magazine, referenced the protest in Illinois when she announced on social media yesterday that she was boycotting this weekend’s world championships.

“For several reasons I don’t feel personally safe going to Arkansas right now as a visibly trans person,” she wrote. “I also do not feel comfortable rewarding USA Cycling for its continued lack of action or follow-up for allowing a hate group to attend US national championship events to harass athletes. I am not even sure if I will tune in to watch the races online at this point to be frank.

“The ship sailed moons ago on any type of boycott or direct action of the event. Instead of attending Worlds, I urge friends and followers to donate to organizations fighting against hate legislation in the state, doing work for the queer community in the region, or advocating for the rights of trans athletes in cycling.”

Ryan joined road.cc in December 2021 and since then has kept the site’s readers and listeners informed and enthralled (well at least occasionally) on news, the live blog, and the road.cc Podcast. After boarding a wrong bus at the world championships and ruining a good pair of jeans at the cyclocross, he now serves as road.cc’s senior news writer. Before his foray into cycling journalism, he wallowed in the equally pitiless world of academia, where he wrote a book about Victorian politics and droned on about cycling and bikes to classes of bored students (while taking every chance he could get to talk about cycling in print or on the radio). He can be found riding his bike very slowly around the narrow, scenic country lanes of Co. Down.

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299 comments

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vthejk replied to Backladder | 2 years ago
1 like

You're confusing your inability to look beyond your own perceived understanding of this post, with someone else's responsibility to make their argument easily understood for you. Someone with enough care to reply angrily to a comment should also have enough care to read it properly and attempt to actually understand it. Don't blame them for your anger/misunderstanding.

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Backladder replied to vthejk | 2 years ago
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I agree with misunderstanding but I said I was insulted not angry. I would have thought that when trying to make a case in an argument you would want to make it as clear and simple to understand as possible.

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nosferatu1001 replied to Backladder | 2 years ago
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Which I had done, or so I thought.  
I was responding to the un-nuanced statement that trans-people are an issue for all sports people who identify as women, by pointing out that this is, statistically speaking, complete nonsense. The odds of a woman being attacked by any randomly chosen cis-male is so overwhelmingly higher than for a trans-woman as to make a comparison nonsensical, which is why the dog whistling on this topic is so aggregious. 
 

I never said all cis-men are the issue. I said, compared to trans-women, dis-men are the issue. That you inserted "all" in front is not my issue but yours. 

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Backladder replied to nosferatu1001 | 2 years ago
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nosferatu1001 wrote:

Which I had done, or so I thought.  
I was responding to the un-nuanced statement that trans-people are an issue for all sports people who identify as women, by pointing out that this is, statistically speaking, complete nonsense.

Apparantly not:- https://www.bmj.com/company/newsroom/current-treatment-period-may-be-too...

nosferatu1001 wrote:

The odds of a woman being attacked by any randomly chosen cis-male is so overwhelmingly higher than for a trans-woman as to make a comparison nonsensical, which is why the dog whistling on this topic is so aggregious. 

Apparantly not:- https://committees.parliament.uk/writtenevidence/18973/pdf/

nosferatu1001 wrote:

I never said all cis-men are the issue. I said, compared to trans-women, dis-men are the issue. That you inserted "all" in front is not my issue but yours. 

I didn't add "all" in front, that is assumed because you did not include any limitations.

I am not qualified to interpret the science behind the links above but they are from sources I consider reputable, feel free to refute them with other reputable sources.

 

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nosferatu1001 replied to Backladder | 2 years ago
0 likes

So your assumption is somehow my fault.  Sure 

Firstly to address the BMJ article which you seem to think helps your argument:

- qualified with may. This means they don't have a statistically confident sample yet, or ever  

- still doesn't address that even if for SOME trans athletes there MAY be some competitive advantage, this doesn't mean that trans people are an issue for ALL. By definition. Which is what I actually said and yiu quoted. 
 

Lastly, even if there is some advantage - completely unqualified as to magnitude - this still has to be balanced against the rights of trans individuals to fully exist as their gender. If this means sports have to actually move away from the arbitrary assumed-gender split they currently use to soemthing based on science, so be it. "We always did it this way" is a shifty excusing for refusing to progress.  And after all, they've already forced one cis-woman to retire early as she's too "manly" (high testosterone) to compete with other women.  So turns out that some perversion of science can be used after all...
 

Second study is the infamous Swedish study, which has been used by anti trans groups widely and the authors have stated thus has been misinterpreted 

https://murrayblackburnmackenzie.org/2021/04/21/long-term-follow-up-of-t...
 

"This study is widely but inaccurately cited by anti-trans groups on social media as evidence that trans women retain “male patterns” of criminality, an error repeated by Profs Freedman and Stock.’

I applaud that you appear to be looking into this topic a little deeper, but be aware you're falling into some classic traps. 

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Tinbob49 | 2 years ago
1 like

I'm just watching the event on bbc. There is a person with a pro trans banner in the crowd. Doesn't strike me as an uncomfortable atmosphere to share their views, just as a general point of interest.

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alexuk | 2 years ago
5 likes

Unless its mixed sports; If they're male, they should compete with other males. If they're female, they should compete with other females, otherwise it's simply not fair to either. You can't change from one to the other, you really can't. Really. How is this not understood by people? 

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Dogless replied to alexuk | 2 years ago
7 likes

Oh shit, have you considered emailing the experts in their field who've spent the last decade debating this issue and carrying out actual scientific research which shows you're wrong? They need to know that actually they've been wasting their time.

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SpiderJ replied to Dogless | 2 years ago
3 likes
Dogless wrote:

Oh shit, have you considered emailing the experts in their field who've spent the last decade debating this issue and carrying out actual scientific research which shows you're wrong? They need to know that actually they've been wasting their time.

Which experts have shown that male bodies should be allowed to compete in the female category?

Which scientific papers have shown that male bodies which have gone through puberty are NOT stronger, faster, etc. than women and have higher lung capacity, etc.? 

Please quote them.

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Captain Badger replied to SpiderJ | 2 years ago
4 likes
SpiderJ wrote:
Dogless wrote:

Oh shit, have you considered emailing the experts in their field who've spent the last decade debating this issue and carrying out actual scientific research which shows you're wrong? They need to know that actually they've been wasting their time.

Which experts have shown that male bodies should be allowed to compete in the female category?

Which scientific papers have shown that male bodies which have gone through puberty are NOT stronger, faster, etc. than women and have higher lung capacity, etc.? 

Please quote them.

Please tell us what how you determine a male body

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nosferatu1001 replied to alexuk | 2 years ago
4 likes
alexuk wrote:

Unless its mixed sports; If they're male, they should compete with other males. If they're female, they should compete with other females, otherwise it's simply not fair to either. You can't change from one to the other, you really can't. Really. How is this not understood by people? 

Thats not how gender and gender identity works. 
please, read something written after the 1950s.  

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SpiderJ replied to nosferatu1001 | 2 years ago
3 likes
nosferatu1001 wrote:
alexuk wrote:

Unless its mixed sports; If they're male, they should compete with other males. If they're female, they should compete with other females, otherwise it's simply not fair to either. You can't change from one to the other, you really can't. Really. How is this not understood by people? 

Thats not how gender and gender identity works. 
please, read something written after the 1950s.  

What has gender got to do with anything? Define gender? How many are there? Why should 'feelings' have anything to do with sport categories?

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Captain Badger replied to alexuk | 2 years ago
5 likes
alexuk wrote:

Unless its mixed sports; If they're male, they should compete with other males. If they're female, they should compete with other females, otherwise it's simply not fair to either. You can't change from one to the other, you really can't. Really. How is this not understood by people? 

As there is no objective scientific measurement of "maleness" or 'femaleness", you are actually talking about categorisations.
To categorise you have to make definitions. Definitions need to be accepted by all stakeholders to be useful. This is the problem.
Your assertion that you can't change one to the other presupposes that we have a clear accepted definition of what males or female is. There is none scientifically (certainly not objective scientific values), and the culturally accepted definitions are contested, which is kind of the point here.
We sometimes frame trans rights as being about who competes in what sporting categories. It should be obvious to say that this is a detail to be worked out. The real issue is that people are allowed to live their lives as they see fit without persecution.

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SpiderJ replied to Captain Badger | 2 years ago
3 likes
Captain Badger wrote:
alexuk wrote:

Unless its mixed sports; If they're male, they should compete with other males. If they're female, they should compete with other females, otherwise it's simply not fair to either. You can't change from one to the other, you really can't. Really. How is this not understood by people? 

As there is no objective scientific measurement of "maleness" or 'femaleness", you are actually talking about categorisations. To categorise you have to make definitions. Definitions need to be accepted by all stakeholders to be useful. This is the problem. Your assertion that you can't change one to the other presupposes that we have a clear accepted definition of what males or female is. There is none scientifically (certainly not objective scientific values), and the culturally accepted definitions are contested, which is kind of the point here. We sometimes frame trans rights as being about who competes in what sporting categories. It should be obvious to say that this is a detail to be worked out. The real issue is that people are allowed to live their lives as they see fit without persecution.

I've never read such utter bunkum. There is very clear science as to what is male and what is female. Every single cell of your body clearly shows what sex you are.

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Captain Badger replied to SpiderJ | 2 years ago
4 likes
SpiderJ wrote:

br />

I've never read such utter bunkum. There is very clear science as to what is male and wh
at is female. Every single cell of your body clearly shows what sex you are.

Please demonstrate the clear science.

The main thing people talk about is the XY chromosomes. These are not clear on your cells. Essentially all cells look the same - you have to do a genetic test to find which is which (if you're lucky you can find a cell under going mitosis on an electron micrograph, if you're especially lucky you might be able to make out a y chromosome (with a sizable error margin))
Humans don't do genetic tests to determine our genders. Our genders are determined at birth with a rudimentary inspection of genitalia by medical staff. Everything else follows from there, and for most of us it's ok.
For some though it's not.
Why do we have such prurient interest in other people's tackle, or genome, when they wish to form their own identity based on what feels right for them?

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Simon E replied to SpiderJ | 2 years ago
4 likes
SpiderJ wrote:

Every single cell of your body clearly shows what sex you are.

I suspect there is a lot more to it than that. Perhaps you could benefit from reading more widely on this topic. Some first hand comments from Pippa York (fka Robert Millar) in this youtube video with Matt Stephens might be a good place to start:

https://bit.ly/The-Cafe-Ride-Pippa-York

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chrisonabike replied to SpiderJ | 2 years ago
4 likes
SpiderJ wrote:
Captain Badger wrote:
alexuk wrote:

Unless its mixed sports; If they're male, they should compete with other males. If they're female, they should compete with other females, otherwise it's simply not fair to either. You can't change from one to the other, you really can't. Really. How is this not understood by people? 

As there is no objective scientific measurement of "maleness" or 'femaleness", you are actually talking about categorisations. To categorise you have to make definitions. Definitions need to be accepted by all stakeholders to be useful. This is the problem. Your assertion that you can't change one to the other presupposes that we have a clear accepted definition of what males or female is. There is none scientifically (certainly not objective scientific values), and the culturally accepted definitions are contested, which is kind of the point here. We sometimes frame trans rights as being about who competes in what sporting categories. It should be obvious to say that this is a detail to be worked out. The real issue is that people are allowed to live their lives as they see fit without persecution.

I've never read such utter bunkum. There is very clear science as to what is male and what is female. Every single cell of your body clearly shows what sex you are.

It's never a good idea to challenge nature to a category contest. Things are never as straightforward as our intuitions or even observations (in our part of the world / universe) suggest. You might find the following interesting:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sex_chromosome_anomalies
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sex_chromosome
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intersex#Medical_classifications
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mosaic_(genetics)

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brooksby replied to chrisonabike | 2 years ago
3 likes
chrisonatrike wrote:

It's never a good idea to challenge nature to a category contest. Things are never as straightforward as our intuitions or even observations (in our part of the world / universe) suggest. You might find the following interesting:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sex_chromosome_anomalies
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sex_chromosome
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intersex#Medical_classifications
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mosaic_(genetics)

There's a cis female athlete, IIRC, who measures as having naturally higher testosterone levels than pretty much every cis male.  High enough that she was told that the only way she could legally compete was to take testosterone blockers.

(Sorry - just wanted to throw some more information into the pot).

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chrisonabike replied to Captain Badger | 2 years ago
3 likes

You're a braver person than me.  The only thing I know about these conversations is they almost immediately become hotly contended and not particularly civil. Of course there's no telling from usernames and most of the writing... but I have a creeping suspicion that much of the shouting is done by people not directly affected (either by being trans and having issues competing in an event, or competing in an event against trans people). I know it's the internets but since I'm not a sportswoman (or sportsman for that matter) and not trans I'm not going to weigh in.

On the general issue I'm all for rights of people not to be persecuted and excluded.  And we're clearly not up to speed with women's rights yet either. From my very limited perspective it looks like a lot of the general oppressing is being done by (presumably cis) men.

Anyway - as BikeSnobNYC said (?) sport is inherently about making up arbitrary rules.  (F'rexample one of my bikes is outside the UCI definition of hetrodox for historical reasons - not that my example would win anything). Given that they're so there's no "natural reason" to stop them being changed either.

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Captain Badger replied to chrisonabike | 2 years ago
6 likes
chrisonatrike wrote:

You're a braver person than me.  The only thing I know about these conversations is they almost immediately become hotly contended and not particularly civil. Of course there's no telling from usernames and most of the writing... but I have a creeping suspicion that much of the shouting is done by people not directly affected (either by being trans and having issues competing in an event, or competing in an event against trans people). I know it's the internets but since I'm not a sportswoman (or sportsman for that matter) and not trans I'm not going to weigh in.

On the general issue I'm all for rights of people not to be persecuted and excluded.  And we're clearly not up to speed with women's rights yet either. From my very limited perspective it looks like a lot of the general oppressing is being done by (presumably cis) men.

Anyway - as BikeSnobNYC said (?) sport is inherently about making up arbitrary rules.  (F'rexample one of my bikes is outside the UCI definition of hetrodox for historical reasons - not that my example would win anything). Given that they're so there's no "natural reason" to stop them being changed either.

You're absolutely right about the folk not being affected. And hands up, I'm in that category.
Except I think we're all affected - first they came for the....., and I didn't not speak up.... and all that.

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chrisonabike replied to Captain Badger | 2 years ago
4 likes
Captain Badger wrote:

[...] You're absolutely right about the folk not being affected. And hands up, I'm in that category. Except I think we're all affected - first they came for the....., and I didn't not speak up.... and all that.

It seems the first rule in this discourse is "there is no neutral position - with us or against us".  I'm generally on the side of those getting a shoeing. Which as far as gender, sex, orientation etc. goes is mostly "anyone bar straight men" (noting that "straight" is a rather modern idea - orientation and gender being rather fluid over time and cultures [1] [2]...).  I suppose in the case of your quote the analogy will stretch a bit because the Nazis essentially invented - or arbitrarily redefined - a category and put others in it (however they understood themselves). Of course they weren't trying to win at sports (well... they did that too) but oppress and annihilate.

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joe9090 replied to chrisonabike | 2 years ago
1 like
chrisonatrike wrote:

 it looks like a lot of the general oppressing is being done by (presumably cis) men.

 

Reading the article above and others in the past, it seems it is women who are getting bloody angry about coming 2nd to bodies that are not regarded as 'female'...  

You could argue its a bit like people getting upset that they feel they cannot compete against other atheletes doping and on steroids...

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joe9090 replied to Captain Badger | 2 years ago
1 like

I was always taught that when you are born, that males have dicks and balls (scrotal sacks etc) and females have instead vulvas and female wotnots. 

Call me old fashioned but I go with that definition - for the purposes of what you were born as... if a person wants to identify as another gender when they are able to - thats all good. But they still originally (as a foetus) developed as a specific gender of the regular two (barring hermaphodites). 

We are really talking about bodies, not identification, not objectification or stigma, or prejudice, just human bodies...

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Captain Badger replied to joe9090 | 2 years ago
2 likes
joe9090 wrote:

I was always taught that when you are born, that males have dicks and balls (scrotal sacks etc) and females have instead vulvas and female wotnots. 

Call me old fashioned but I go with that definition - for the purposes of what you were born as... if a person wants to identify as another gender when they are able to - thats all good. But they still originally (as a foetus) developed as a specific gender of the regular two (barring hermaphodites). 

We are really talking about bodies, not identification, not objectification or stigma, or prejudice, just human bodies...

Why barring "hermaphrodites"? Are they not human? What should they do? how do you define a "hermaphrodite"? Physiological differences? isn't the mind a physiological component?

I wouldn't call you old-fashioned necessarily. But the view is certainly outdated, and does not account for diversity of the human experience. In addition the (crazy strict) binary view of the entirety of humanity, although not exclusive to western worldviews, is certainly not ubiquitous, nor has it much if any scientific basis.

The difference between "male" and "female" bodies starts and ends with primary characteristics, which are minor and limited (and not to mention by no means definite) - however it does lead to a human cultural categorisation, not a scientific absolute, and it's tautological as that is how "males" and "females" are perceived in the first place. Secondary characteristics are much more fluid, and definitely non-binary.

It really isn't about "junk". Think of how many people you have known in your life. You'll have seen between teh legs of very few of them, and seen the genome of even fewer if any. And yet we are generally quite happy to take people as we find them, based on how they present themselves and leave it at that. 

And why wouldn't we? why do we care so much about what is in people's pants, especially those that don't neatly fit a binary worldview?

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joe9090 replied to Captain Badger | 2 years ago
1 like

Yeah bnot sure about all that boss, I agree with all of it probably. I never said hermaphrodites child wasnt a human! jeez.

I just think women suffer enough at the hands of men and I share some of their concerns mentioned elsewhere here. I think far too many take offence far too soon these days but i do know as a man that men are a bit shitty and women deserve alot more in society than some of the bullcrap they still have to put up with. 

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Captain Badger replied to joe9090 | 2 years ago
3 likes
joe9090 wrote:

Yeah bnot sure about all that boss, I agree with all of it probably. I never said hermaphrodites child wasnt a human! jeez.

I didn't really think you did, just wanted to establish it though. So what do they do? Who are tehy allowed to identify as?

joe9090 wrote:

I just think women suffer enough at the hands of men and I share some of their concerns mentioned elsewhere here. I think far too many take offence far too soon these days but i do know as a man that men are a bit shitty and women deserve alot more in society than some of the bullcrap they still have to put up with. 

And likewise, I am largely in agreement. And trans people suffer hugely at the hands of (cis) men (and to a lesser extend some (cis) women) too.

I'm still not certain how (cis) men being awful to women means that trans people can't be accepted at face value by society.

these concepts are uncomfortable as they conflict with all we've been taught, as you point out in your earlier post. This doesn't mean that all we've been taught is correct.

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vthejk replied to Captain Badger | 2 years ago
4 likes
Captain Badger wrote:

these concepts are uncomfortable as they conflict with all we've been taught, as you point out in your earlier post. This doesn't mean that all we've been taught is correct.

HEAR HEAR

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Tinbob49 | 2 years ago
8 likes

I don't care much for the labelling of womens right groups as "hate groups". Protesting for womens rights does not equal harassment of people who don't share the same view. It seems the inclusive world that is called for Tara calls for doesn't include people who disagree.

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Dogless replied to Tinbob49 | 2 years ago
4 likes

Except they're literally harassing people who don't share the same view, aren't they? The idea that a 'tolerant' society should tolerate hate speech has been repeatedly debunked, I suggest Google but bing would also work.

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Tinbob49 replied to Dogless | 2 years ago
4 likes

When you say "tolerate hate speech" that's where you lose me. I disagree that having a different view makes it hate speech. (Also disagreeing on this point doesn't mean I hate you). 

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