A number of sports have been in the news lately for athletes who are coming out as LGBTQ - basketball, football, soccer, swimming, diving, tennis (see LGBTQ Tennis), and more. Analysts see this as a progressive move for the acceptance of LGBTQs in society.
An absent sport in this line-up is cycling. This is curious because there is no shortage of popular LGBTQ cycling clubs in regions around the world. Do a Google search using the words 'LGBTQ Cycling' and a plethora of local cycling clubs comes up.
We have been able to identify only a few international cyclists who self-identify as LGBTQ. Despite their small numbers, this group of cyclist has achieved notable results in their sports. One is an Olympic Bronze medalist. Two have been world champions. All are national champions in their respective countries. Just as importantly, all have been ground-breakers for acceptance of LGBTQ individuals in their sport. Scotland's Philippa York raced eleven Tours de France and other professional races, winning the King of the Mountains prize in the Tour de France in 1984, and finishing fourth overall that year, second in the 1985 and 1986 Tours of Spain, and in the 1987 Giro d’Italia.
Perhaps the principal reason for the stark contrast between the plethora of local LGBTQ cycling clubs and the general absence of out professional cyclists is the macho culture in all sports. As well, there is no doubt that a professional athlete is concerned about their income-earning potential (in terms of team acceptance, sponsorship, and advertising contracts) should they be identified as LGBTQ.
Of all sports, cycling has been the most advanced for dealing with performance enhancing drugs. The global attention and controversy surrounding this aspect of the sport may have caused some athletes to hesitate about coming out.
A particular issue for the transgender community is that a gender transitioned competitor may have an athletic advantage in sports which are centred on individual pursuit (such as cycling). There is equal concern that drugs taken during the transition process (such as growth hormones) may also give a competitive advantage. However, scientific studies have shown that hormone therapy facilitating gender transition also adjust muscle mass, bone density and other physical characteristics and thereby eliminate any potential advantage.
We have identified the following individuals as out LGBTQ individuals in the sport of cycling. Read their full biographies on QueerBio.com.
As well, follow the links below for stories that analyze why cycling as a sport remains a laggard for the identity, and acceptance, of LGBTQ individuals.
- Philippa York (formerly Robert Millar)
- Lea Davison
- Michelle Ferris
- Brendan Housler
- Allison Jones
- Hannah Roberts
- James Scully
- Chris Witty
- Chelsea Wolfe
- LGBTQ Tennis
- LGBTQ Figure Skaters
- LGBTQ Sports Management
- LGBTQ Sports Referees and Umpires
- LGBTQ Professional and Amateur Sports Coaches
- LGBTQ Personal Trainers and Lifestyle Coaches
- Lesbian Football/Soccer Players
- The Community of LGBTQ Boxers
- Professional LGBTQ Mixed Martial Artists
- LGBTQ Presence in the Equestrian World
- The World of LGBTQ Golf
- World Sports Champions Who Identify as LGBTQ
- LGBTQ Athletes Who Have Won Olympic Gold
- LGBTQ Track & Field