The cycling organization revoked one trans cyclist’s silver medal for not meeting new rules on how trans athletes can compete.
A day after winning second place in a USA Cycling event, trans athlete Leia Genis saw her distinction taken away. During the USA Cycling Elite Track National Championship in Pennsylvania on July 27, Genis won second place in the Individual Pursuit event.
Less than 24 hours later, a USA Cycling official informed Genis that she would lose that position because she failed to meet recently updated requirements for transgender athletes. The organization also barred her from competing in further events at the championship.
In an official statement, USA Cycling said that Genis failed to provide the documents necessary for competing in the elite women’s category. That category requires Genis to meet guidelines on trans athletes that Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) — cycling’s governing body — approved in June.
Those rules went into effect for USA Cycling on July 1 and require trans athletes in elite women’s categories to show proof of testosterone levels below 2.5 nmol/L for 24 months. According to USA Cycling, Genis was “made aware” of the policy in March 2022.
When the organization reviewed Genis’ eligibility for the elite event, a representative found that she had not completed the “required steps.”
“As a result, USA Cycling refunded Ms. Genis’ registration fees, vacated her event results, and removed her from further events at the 2022 USA Cycling Elite & Junior Track National Championships,” USA Cycling said.
Writing on Instagram, Genis called the move by USA Cycling “blatant” transphobia.
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Rapidly Changing Rules for Trans Athletes
After Genis posted on Instagram, USA Cycling told Road.cc that the decision resulted from a technicality. Genis switched from non-elite categories to elite ones, which then disqualified her.
“Ms. Genis was participating in non-elite categories and fell under USA Cycling’s Policy VII Non-Elite Competition guidelines,” the organization said. “Ms. Genis subsequently upgraded but did not provide the UCI with the necessary documents to race in the Elite Women’s category.”
Across professional sports, the rules for transgender athletes continue to change. The UCI updated its policies in June, barring trans athletes like Emily Bridges from competing until 2023.
However, not all sports organizations agree on rules for whether trans athletes can compete.
World Triathlon just passed new rules similar to UCI’s. The regulations will allow trans triathletes to compete as women, as long as they follow stricter guidelines for testosterone levels. They also require that athletes comply with longer waiting periods after transitioning.
That differs from British Triathlon and the World Rugby League, which both opted over the last year to ban trans women from competing in the female category altogether.