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HomenewsTessa Johnson wins two more gold medals as trans cyclist continues to...

Tessa Johnson wins two more gold medals as trans cyclist continues to dominate Chicago competition scene

A transgender cyclist again took first place in two women’s categories at a Chicago Cross Cup race last week – bringing her yearly total to 10 gold medals across the Windy City racing scene. 

Tessa Johnson, 25, triumphed in the women’ Single Speed and women’s Cat Half races on October 29 at the Campton Cross competition.

Just before Halloween, photos posted to social media show Johnson opted to compete wearing a Barbie-inspired costume.

Johnson’s win is the latest for the trans competitor, who has sparked outrage by dominating female events in the area.  

‘Women need to start boycotting these events. He’s a guy with all the physical benefits. USA Cycling needs to adopt the UCI standards and force these faux female riders to compete with the men,’ wrote one user named Mike on Twitter

Tessa Johnson (right)  took first place in the women' Single Speed and women's Cat Half races on October 29 at the Campton Cross competition Tessa Johnson (right)  took first place in the women' Single Speed and women's Cat Half races on October 29 at the Campton Cross competition

Tessa Johnson (right)  took first place in the women’ Single Speed and women’s Cat Half races on October 29 at the Campton Cross competition

Johnson (right) competed wearing a Barbie inspired outfit at the competition days before Halloween Johnson (right) competed wearing a Barbie inspired outfit at the competition days before Halloween

Johnson (right) competed wearing a Barbie inspired outfit at the competition days before Halloween

Johnson and fellow transgender cyclist Evelyn Williamson, 30, have been sweeping the Chicago racing scene.

At the Jackson Park Chicago Cross Cup race on October 7, Johnson won first place in the Women’s SingleSpeed and Cat Half and Williamson placed second in the SingleSpeed.

The transgender duo won the Illinois state women’s championship on August 31 at the Ed Rudolph Velodrome.

They also won the Racing-Athletic Relay Cross in Chicago on August 27 – competing under the team name ‘TS-ESTRODOLLS’ in reference to the female hormone estrogen.

Johnson’s October 29 wins sparked debate over the involvement of transgender athletes in the sport.

Held at Anderson Park in the Campton Township of Illinois, there were over a dozen different categories for men, women and juniors to race in.

While some were angered with Johnson’s win, others celebrated it. ‘Congrats to Tessa,’ one user wrote.

Williamson has made headlines for her romantic life after rumors began circulating that she was in a ‘throuple’ with fellow transgender cyclist Austin Killips and a third unidentified individual.

Killips sparked widespread outrage after appearing to shove female CycloCross champion Hannah Arensman in a competition in December 2022 – who went on to quit the sport entirely after feeling transgender athletes were ruining the sport.

Johnson (center) placed first in the Women's Cat Half earlier in October Johnson (center) placed first in the Women's Cat Half earlier in October Johnson (center), and Williamson (right), placed first and second respectively in the Women's SingleSpeed on October 7 Johnson (center), and Williamson (right), placed first and second respectively in the Women's SingleSpeed on October 7

Transgender cyclists Tessa Johnson and Evelyn Williamson take gold and silver medals at Chicago women’s race on October 7

After Killips pushed her, Arensman said: ‘I fully expect that in cycling, as a full-body contact sport, you’re going to get hit at some point.

‘But when you have someone born a man run into you, over 6ft tall, it’s quite different. I tried to keep racing, not to let it get into my head at all. That one instance caught on video felt unnecessary, though.’

Arensman left the sport entirely this year after losing a podium place to the trans rider.

‘A guy, even if mediocre in the men’s field, is more than capable of breaking records and making podiums in women’s races,’ she added.

‘This is not fair sport, and the governing bodies, who should have made the rules at the beginning, need to realize it. The very people who should be protecting our sport are not doing so.’

Union Cycliste Internationale, cycling’s world governing body, banned transgender women from competing in the female category at international events after Killips won the Tour of the Gila in May. 

On their website, the Chicago CrossCup said they welcome transgender athletes and that they follow USA Cycling’s Transgender Athlete Participation policies, which allows participants in non-elite races to self-select their gender.

Williamson and Johnson stand atop the podium in August after winning the Illinois state women's championship Williamson and Johnson stand atop the podium in August after winning the Illinois state women's championship

Williamson and Johnson stand atop the podium in August after winning the Illinois state women’s championship

Williamson (left) reportedly had 'throuple' relationship with Killips (second from left), who sparked outrage after she appeared to shove female CycloCross champion Hannah Arensman Williamson (left) reportedly had 'throuple' relationship with Killips (second from left), who sparked outrage after she appeared to shove female CycloCross champion Hannah Arensman

Williamson (left) reportedly had ‘throuple’ relationship with Killips (second from left), who sparked outrage after she appeared to shove female CycloCross champion Hannah Arensman

The race organizers said: ‘The CCC has always been first and foremost about fostering a positive & supportive community built around competitive CycloCross racing, and that means welcoming and challenging everyone who wants to contribute to the series and make it better.’ 

They noted: ‘Discrimination or harassment of any kind on the basis of race, color, religion, age, gender, sexual orientation, gender identification, national origin, sportsball team affiliation, or any other stupid idea someone comes up with to belittle others will not be tolerated.’

USA Cycling recently announced an updated transgender athlete policy that goes into effective on January 1, 2024.

The policy requires transgender cyclist participating in USA Cycling events to compete in categories, either Group A or Group B, depending on their discipline and ability.

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