Trans National Women’s Cycling Team: Racing near you
by Kara Kliewer
“I thought it would be neat to bring everyone together under the umbrella of cycling,” Jillian Beardan said excitedly. “Let’s provide a team wherein we can support each other and have friendships.” Beardan is a founding member of The Trans National Women’s Cycling Team (TNWCTeam).
The new team is making a name for itself in both sport and social issue realms. They began development in June of 2016 but didn’t take off until 2017. Now, it is comprised of 23 members located across 16 states and three countries.
“I had the idea of doing something like this for a while,” said Beardan. “Some media stuff happened, and my idea got into Ruth Seaman’s hands.” Seaman is the other founding member.
“She reached out to me, so I told her about my idea and then it was formed. We are co-founders and started this together from the beginning.”
Seaman resides in Oklahoma City. Bearden is in Colorado.
The team started as more than an athletic outlet. Beardan’s vision for creating the team was to provide an opportunity for trans women who enjoy sports to gather without fear of discrimination.
The team has two parts: a club team and a race team. The race team qualifies with International Olympic Committee (IOC) rules and the club team does not. This is important as women who haven’t been on hormone therapy long enough might not comply with IOC rules and be able to compete.
TNWCTeam competes as individual members participate in races across the country. This is because there are not enough funds to bring members together at one race. So far, members have participated in 60 races.
“We don’t necessarily have the financial backing to all meet up and go race one single race together, but we’re working toward meeting for Tour de Tucson in November of this year,” added Beardan.
While not everyone is qualified for the race team, there are no qualifications to join other than being a trans female.
As a recently approved non-profit, the group also wishes to expand.
“We’re looking at going after sponsorships to help grow the team and do grassroot development for the girls,” explained Beardan. “Some of the girls are not able to go out and race or afford it. We’re hoping sponsors could do a tax write-off and donate money to help our needs.”
In addition to receiving help from sponsors, the team hopes to do education work in high schools on transgender athleticism. “I would like to go into local high schools and bring everyone up to speed on transgender athleticism,” Beardan noted.
“What it means to be trans and athletic. I know people from sports like rowing to soccer, cycling and hockey. It’s growing. I’m hoping that going into a school and educating on what the industry has done with trans athletes will give motivation to the ones that feel they can’t participate in sports because of their gender confusion.”
Beyond looking toward growth, Beardan reflects on her work with admiration and excitement.
“We’re moving as a community and a world into a more accepting place, really,” Beardan said in closing. “It’s been great advocating to many people who don’t understand. It’s been fun.”
Copyright The Gayly – October 17, 2017 @ 9:30 a.m.CDT.