Controversy over lack of a stand down period

Kate Weatherly won the New Zealand National Downhill women’s champs last weekend. The result came a mere three weeks after a competing as a man.

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The controversial aspect amongst NZ racers is not that Weatherly is transgender, it’s the almost non-existent ‘stand down’ period between competing in men’s events and then in women’s events. Some are claiming that moves such as Weatherly’s are putting some other female mountain bikers in New Zealand from entering competitions.

Former world No.2 junior Shania Rawson is quoted by the NZ Herald as saying: “She’s been riding as a guy for four or five years then with no stand down period whatsoever she was in the girls’ category. I thought there would be some sort of stand down period for that situation. I’ve got nothing against Kate at all… I’m just confused by the rules and am trying to figure it all out.”

As it turns out, it appears the main cause of the controversy is a lack of communication and dissemination of information about Weatherly to other racers.

Weatherly doesn’t appear to have broken any national or internation rules. She declared her gender identity is female and committed that it cannot be changed for four years minimum. Weatherly has also shown a total testosterone level below 10 nmol/L for at least 12 months prior to irst competition as a female.

Cycling New Zealand spokesperson’s statement: “Cycling New Zealand has a transgender policy and it’s been drafted in accordance with the IOC’s rulings. So we’re consistent with the IOC, which has been adopted by the international cycling federation (UCI). What I can confirm is we’ve got a really clear policy, in line with UCI and IOC protocols. The athlete has demonstrated that she is fully compliant with that policy and is quite entitled to race. I think the thing people need to realise is there is a clear policy and Kate Weatherly was within that policy and entitled to race.”

Weatherly is of the opinion that her move into women’s racing should have been more widely broadcast and explained. “It’s kind of one of those things where I’d like everyone to be on the same page. If everyone’s not happy then maybe everyone’s not doing their best racing and I just want everyone to be having fun and doing their best.”

“I know some people thought I made the switch over as soon as I was able to when that wasn’t the case. It happened to be that time when everything seemed like it would be the easiest time to make that switch.

“I talked to some of the other competitors beforehand and at the time they had been supportive of me. Some of them are still supportive, some of them aren’t, but maybe the discussion needed to be released in a more public way.”

“There’s that whole conversation of fairness in the sport, but I’ve been beaten by other chicks in the sport. It’s not like I’m winning every race.”