Transgender bike rider opens up on outcry after first win as female

Kate Weatherly.
Kate Weatherly. Photo credit: Facebook

Downhill mountain biker Kate Weatherly has been dominating women's elite competitions the last three months.

The 20-year-old won the national championships on Wanaka in February, her first national title - and also the first time she competed as a woman.

Up until December 2017, Weatherly had been a constant in men's competitions, achieving limited success.

Weatherly's appearance in the women's competition raised some eyebrows as she had only confided in a few of her fellow competitors - and her dominant win set off a firestorm online with calls for her to be excluded.

Speaking to RadioLIVE, Weatherly stressed her frustration given her open line of communication with Cycling New Zealand months before switching to the female category.

She said she feels the sport's governing body aren't being as supportive as they could be, given the recent social media outcry.

Weatherly said she was shocked that some people she confided in did a "full 180" once she started to win.

"I'm surprised at the people who've had problems with me," she told Wendyl Nissen.

Cycling NZ requires transgender female athletes to prove their testosterone level has been below 10 nmol/L (nanomoles per litre) for at least one year prior to first competition. These are the same guidelines that were set by the International Olympic Committee in 2015.

As Weatherly's transition began when she was just 17, her testosterone levels were well below the maximum threshold.

There have been some calls in amongst her fellow riders that she compete in a gender neutral category; a notion that Weatherly finds insulting.

"It feels really devaluating of my gender identity," Weatherly said.

"I don't identify as a trans person - I identify as a woman. It's part of my history, but it's not who I am."