Trans cyclist Leia Genis was stripped of her silver medal for not meeting USA Cyclings’ new requirements for transgender athletes.
Back in July, Genis competed in the USA Cycling Elite Track National Championship in Pennsylvania.
During the championship, the young athlete participated in the Individual Pursuit event and landed in second place, resulting in her silver medal achievement.
However a day later, an official from USA Cycling interrupted her preparations for the mass start races and revealed that her recent win was revoked.
“A USA Cycling official informed me that I was no longer allowed to compete and that my place on the IP podium was to be revoked on account of my trans identity,” Genis revealed in a lengthy Instagram post on 30 July.
“6 weeks ago, I was eligible for competition at UC1 C1 and C2 races held at the same velodrome and overseen by the same technical director.
“Yet 6 weeks later, now that I am doing well at nationals, I am suddenly ineligible to compete. The transphobia is so blatant it’s almost laughable.”
Towards the end of her statement, Genis called out the cycling organisation for their “poorly communicated guidelines, restrictions and requirements that are constantly changing.”
Back in June, the Union Cycliste Internationale introduced new restrictive rules regarding trans athletes and their participation in the sport.
Under the updated guidelines, which went into effect on 1 July, trans athletes competing in the elite female-based categories must have testosterone levels below 2.5 nanomoles per litre for 24 months
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“I am obviously heartbroken. I have worked my ass off to be here, and I rightfully earned my silver medal. I will continue to train and race, but this experience has left me disgusted and abhorred,” Genis added.
“Trans women are women. Sport is a human right. I deserve the right to race.”
In response to the young athlete’s Instagram post, USA Cycling told Road.cc that their decision stemmed from Genis switching from non-elite categories to elite categories.
“Ms. Genis was participating in non-elite categories and fell under USA Cycling’s Policy VII Non-Elite Competition guidelines,” they said.
“Ms. Genis subsequently upgraded but did not provide the UCI with the necessary documents to race in the Elite Women’s category.”
Genis’ recent interaction with USA Cycling comes a few weeks after various athletic governing bodies introduced policies that have either banned or heavily restricted trans athlete participation.
Back in June, FINA announced its new gender inclusion policy, which banned trans women who transition after the age of 12 from competing in events.
On 6 July, the British Triathlon introduced a similar policy that blocked trans athletes from racing in the female category at an elite and grassroots level.