A group of anti-trans protesters took center stage at the amateur USA Cycling National Cyclocross Championships in Chicago over the weekend, yelling and standing along the course with signs against trans women participating in women’s sports. At the same time USA Cycling CEO Rob Demartini was resigning, just shy of three years on the job, to run a pillow company called Purple.
The demonstrators were part of “Save Women’s Sport,” a right-wing conservative group as defined by the Southern Poverty Law Center and American Civil Liberties Union, that is “a coalition that seeks to preserve biology-based eligibility standards for participation in female sports.” During the races they held signs displaying messages that included “Say no to males competing as females” and “woman = adult human female.”
Live coverage of their protest by USA Cycling’s broadcast partner were shown on television and resulted in an immediate backlash from the cycling community and trans rights supporters. Leaders of the cycling community condemned Save Women’s Sport and specifically USA Cycling’s CEO Rob DeMartini for not preventing the demonstration, or condemning it afterwards.
One official at the event, Flynn Leonard, sent an a letter to USA Cycling demanding action, including the resignation of the DeMartini.
“Myself and others are less safe at sanctioned events due to your continued refusal to act upon repeated instances of the Save Women’s Sport hate group participating and fundraising on the backs of USA Cycling [USAC] events, as well as continued instances of transphobic behavior online by athletes, promoters, and even officials,” wrote Leonard.
World renowned cyclocross frame builder Richard Sachs was more direct with his Twitter comments about the protesters, “go. the. fukc. away. all six of you.”
Randy Locklair, president of largest the cycling club in the country, Century Road Club of America, which also has the most USAC licensed riders in the country, wrote of USAC’s in-actions, “You need to denounce Save Women’s Sport. You need to replace your leadership. If Safesport can’t protect your athletes it needs to be burned down and started over again. There’s really nothing to compromise on anymore.”
At press time USA Cycling has not commented or issued any statements on the matter, but pillow maker Purple saw it’s stock drop 6.63% on the announcement DeMartini was named CEO.