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Taylor Silverman will join Riley Gaines to protest Austin Killips competing in the women’s division of the 2023 USA Cycling Pro Road National Championships Sunday.
Killips — a biological male —has been stealing podium spots and prize money from female athletes since he decided to compete in women’s events last year.
“I hope that UCI and USA Cycling hears us and decides to change the rules that currently allow male athletes like Killips to compete in the women’s division because it’s simply unfair,” Silverman said. “And it is not right that the women have to miss out on their opportunities because of one person’s feelings.”
Silverman competed against biological males three times in skateboarding.
“Two of those times I actually got bumped out of first place into second, and I’ve also lost out on prize money,” Silverman told Fox Business host Stuart Varney. “I understood that this was not fair. It was wrong, so I reached out to contest organizers after the third contest, and it was with Red Bull. So I reached out to them and raised my concerns and they completely ignored me, which led me to share my story on social media, where I truly began to understand how big of an issue this was.”
Silverman said she’s received some online backlash for speaking the truth. But most people, she said, are overwhelmingly supportive.
“I get hundreds of thousands of messages every month from people thanking me for speaking up, whether that be female athletes, parents, coaches,” Silverman said. “And I’ve gotten everything from job offers to marriage proposals. So there are people who are very grateful that I’m using my voice on this issue.”
Taylor Silverman and Other Female Athletes Prepare for Knoxville Protest
Killips is racing in the 2023 USA Cycling Pro Road National Championships this weekend in Knoxville, Tenn.
And a protest will be there waiting for him.
The “Our Bodies, Our Sports” rally is organized by the Independent Women’s Forum, Independent Women’s Network and the Inga Thompson Foundation.
In addition to Silverman and Gaines, many other female athletes and media personalities have pledged to join the event.
And they’re encouraging everyone in the area who cares about women’s sports to join them.
And even if you can’t attend the protest, Silverman encourages everyone to speak up to help save women’s sports.
“I think a lot of people are scared to use their voice, but I really want to encourage people to speak up too, because you will receive support,” Silverman said.
Austin Killips Raises Questions about Transgender Athletes in Women’s Cycling
Earlier this month, Killips won the Belgian Waffle Ride 131-mile course in North Carolina. He finished with a time of 8 hours, 28 minutes and 7 seconds — five minutes ahead of second-place female Paige Onweller.
For comparison, the winner of the men’s event finished with a time of 7 hours, 23 minutes and 23 seconds. So Killips was the “women’s” champ but would have lost to the first-place male by over an hour.
And in late April, Killips placed first in the women’s category at the Tour of the Gila.
Killips’ win earned him a $35,000 prize pot over second-place cyclist Marcela Prieto, a female.
Killips’ history of aggression against female competitors also draws questions.
According to a report from Reduxx, Killips joined the women’s category at the UCI Cyclocross National Championship in 2022. He attempted to push female cyclist Hannah Arensman off the racing course several times.
Arensman, a 35-time cyclocross champ, presented the incident to the governing body’s attention. She decided to walk away from the sport due to their lack of resolve.
Unlike some international sporting bodies, like World Athletics and World Aquatics, the Union Cycliste Internationale allows female-identifying men to compete in women’s races.
However, the governing body said last month it would “analyze the current situation” and review its rules for transgender athletes.
Until then, though, Killips will have his shot at a women’s national championship.