Trans duo takes first place in women’s category at two cycling championships in Illinois

Two trans cyclists claimed top honors in the women’s categories at two separate cycling championships in Illinois. Evelyn Williamson and Tessa Johnson made headlines for their achievements in women’s cycling.

Their journey to victory began on August 27 at the Racing-Athletic Relay Cross in Chicago, where they competed under the team name “TS-ESTRODOLLS,” a playful reference to the female hormone estrogen. Surpassing nine other pairs of female competitors, Johnson and Williamson secured their initial first-place win.

Just days later, on August 31, they continued their winning streak at the Ed Rudolph Velodrome during the State Championship in Madison. In a race organized by the Northbrook Cycle Committee, Johnson and Williamson outperformed two other women’s teams, further solidifying their dominance in the women’s cycling circuit.

Evelyn Williamson, 29, has been actively participating in women’s cycling categories for several years, accumulating an impressive 18 first-place titles in races across the country since 2017. However, a notable detail emerged from the Sky Express Winter Criterium in March 2020 when Williamson competed in both women’s and men’s categories. In the Women’s Pro category, she claimed first place among 13 racers. In contrast, in the Men’s category, she did not secure a spot in a race featuring 40 male competitors.

Williamson’s teammate, Tessa Johnson, formerly known as Michael Johnson, also boasts previous victories in women’s categories.

These historic wins were initially reported by Twitter user @i_heart_bikes, a female bike racer who has been vocal about trans-identified males participating in women’s sports. She encouraged followers to use Johnson’s male name, Michael, to access his results from the 2022 season.

Before transitioning to compete as a female, Johnson participated as a male, representing Clemson University since 2017 in Open and Men’s categories. She clinched three first-place titles in Men’s categories before switching to compete among female cyclists in 2022. During this transition, she secured eight first-place wins in 2022, sometimes racing for Clemson University’s team and other times for Comrade Cycles Racing.

Following his gender identity change, Johnson now has a profile under his new name on CrossResults, listing only his recent victory with Williamson in the Women’s Open race in Illinois.

In February of the previous year, Pratt Racing formed a team for Pennsylvania’s Elite Track Cycling Nationals, featuring both Evelyn Williamson and another trans-identified male cyclist, Austin Killips. Notably, Williamson and Killips were romantically involved and part of a “polyamorous” relationship, celebrating their silver medal at the event. Their bond centered on a shared passion for cycling and navigating careers in the sport as transgender athletes.

In July, WowAlly, a platform focused on real-life stories and research-oriented facts, highlighted their relationship, emphasizing that Killips and Williamson were the only two transgender racers on their team at the women’s elite national track championship. To everyone’s surprise, they clinched victory at the Elite Track Cycling Nationals at the Valley Preferred Cycling Center in Pennsylvania.

Killips, like Johnson, has achieved multiple first-place wins in female categories but has faced controversy due to targeted physical aggression. In December 2022, Killips was accused of attempting to push female cyclist Hannah Arensman off the racing course at the UCI Cyclocross National Championships. Arensman, a 35-time winner in cyclocross racing, retired from the sport after feeling discouraged by competing against male cyclists in women’s events.

In June, Killips faced international backlash after winning the women’s category of the Belgian Waffle Ride in North Carolina with a significant lead over female competitors. Consequently, the Belgian Waffle Ride banned male athletes from competing in the women’s category and introduced a third open category for athletes of any sex or gender identity.