Not so long ago it seemed that cycling was only for men. The men’s matches were broadcast live, and if there was a women’s match, coverage was limited to an unofficial commentary on the men’s match. That has changed dramatically in recent years. This year we were able to see Annemiek van Vleuten’s victory in Liège-Bastogne-Liège in a comprehensive report, live on different channels. Women’s cycling is liberated and this is good for all the girls who want to be cyclists in the future and see Van Vleuten or Lotte Kobeki anime as their role models.
The question is how this liberalization in sport will be affected by a bill that has been in Parliament a year ago: the relaxation of the transgender law (in full: a bill that amends gender on birth certificate).
The original 1985 law stipulated that people who changed their gender could amend their birth certificates thereafter. This was changed in 2014, so that a gender change is no longer necessary to change the birth certificate, only a medical statement is sufficient. The new proposal states that every citizen can change his gender on a birth certificate without any conditions or restrictions. Each man can then go to the registry office and legally become a “woman” with the stroke of a pen. This gives him the right to exercise with women. If Matthew van der Poel makes a pen stroke, for example, he can ride the bike against Van Vleuten and Kubicki. It’s not fair, after all, men move around much faster than women. Just like men, they can run faster and jump higher and farther. If men and women played sports together, no woman would ever qualify for the Olympics again.
Until now, sports federations have specific rules for transgender people in women’s sports: they have to lower their testosterone level with medication. There are two objections to this. First, testosterone isn’t the only thing that makes men run and cycle faster. Men have stronger muscles anyway – this difference already exists before testosterone starts playing a role in puberty. Men also have a 20 percent greater ability to absorb oxygen.
Also read this opinion article: Why wouldn’t we want to see someone who feels like a woman as a woman?
Second, the House of Representatives passed a law in 2019 that explicitly criminalizes discrimination against transgender people. With this law in hand, a transgender person can go to court to demand that the “testosterone requirement” be dropped.
If the House changes the transgender law in June, from now on every man can decide to play sports with women. There are an estimated 800 men in the world running 100 meters faster than the world record for women. If one percent of those men decide to legally become “women”, it will be eight men in the women’s 100m final at the next Olympics.
Supporters of the amendment suggest not classifying sports by gender, but by weight category or bone thickness. I don’t think these people have competed with themselves. They don’t understand that Van Vleuten doesn’t want to end up as the first woman in Liège-Bastogne-Liège half an hour after Remco Evenepoel, but she does want to be the first to cross the line on her own.
Soon there will be eight men in the women’s 100m final
I’ve been cycling myself for nearly fifty years. I stopped participating in competitive sports after changing my gender because it seemed unfair to me. I’ve cycled club races and mixed training often enough to tell the difference in speed and strength between men and women. This difference remains with taking testosterone lowering pills, as well as with the complete change of sex. Allowing transgender men to join women’s sports is simply unfair.
I urgently appeal to the House of Representatives to reject the proposed law amendment to include gender on birth certificates, in the interests of women in sports and the interests of girls who set van Vleuten or Kubicki as role models and present themselves. How can they. He also wins a match later. Really winning means.