Na Hwa-rin, a biological male, says she felt at just the age of 7 that she should have been born a female.
Na, 37, transitioned last year, and is now officially recognized as a woman under South Korean law.
A lifelong cyclist, she wanted to continue racing, and after her gender change, she did so against biological women. However, she did so not to compete herself and feel the euphoric feeling of victory, but to prove a point.
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Na, who comes from a Christian family, faced negative comments during her transition, but little did everyone know what she had been planning for upwards of two years.
She wanted to race against women to show that biological men are physically superior to biological women.
“I have no unresolved feelings over winning because that's no longer what I want. My goal was to stir controversy and get my story heard by competing,” Na told the Korean Times.
After her victory at the Gangwon Sports Festival, she admitted she felt “more relieved than triumphant.”
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“I am not honored. I am not proud of myself at all,” she said. “I believe other transgender athletes would feel the same way. They may not want to admit it, but they're being selfish. There is no honor as an athlete in that.”
With the victory, she qualified for the National Sports Festival but declined the invite.
“I don't want to make an issue to the point where I harm other people,” she said.
Na says committees should include a “third gender” category.
“It could be like how we have many weight divisions in some sports… Under the current binary system, women athletes will be discouraged, and their hard work might not be recognized due to the participation of transgender athletes. At the same time, trans woman athletes, no matter how hard they worked, will never be truly honored for their wins. Honor is the goal that all athletes aspire to attain, but this is a situation where nobody will be honored. I think that shouldn't happen.”
“Respect and harmony. Those are the core values of Olympism and sports.”