Dog Races: TERFs won’t like this one

Anti-Trans bigots and media have been promoting fictionalized accounts Lia Thomas’s results in NCAA swimming, falsely claiming she has been “dominating” and “breaking records”.  I don’t see how an eighth place and fifth place finish are “dominating”.  Will the TERF trash start calling Gretchen Walsh a “man” for winning the national title?

Lia Thomas finishes 8th in 100-yard freestyle, final race of collegiate swimming career

Penn swimmer Lia Thomas’ collegiate swimming career ended with an eighth place finish in the 100-yard freestyle on Saturday. Thomas, a transgender woman, posted a time of 48.18 seconds, 0.81 seconds slower than her qualifying time of 47.37 seconds.

Virginia freshman Gretchen Walsh won the title in 46.05 seconds to land her first individual NCAA championship. It was a familiar spot for Virginia swimmers, who won seven individual titles and four relays to propel the Cavaliers to their second straight national championship in dominant fashion.

Three other Transgender athletes (one retired, one a current competitor and one from last year) have gotten less notice because of their sport: the Iditarod sled dog race in Alaska.  I’ll bet the TERFs and other anti-Trans bigots will ignorantly call it “unfair competition!” for a Transgender woman to compete against cis women there.

Except that the Iditarod does not have separate male and female divisions.  It’s an open event, women and men compete directly against one another.

First up, NBC’s item on Quince Mountain, from June 2021:

Iditarod’s 1st transgender dog musher races to beat anti-trans sports bills

Quince Mountain, the Iditarod’s first openly transgender dog musher, is using his popularity on social media to combat anti-trans sports bills in his home state, Wisconsin, as well as a slew of similar bills introduced in dozens of states. The two Republican-backed measures being debated in the Wisconsin Legislature seek to ban trans students from participating on sports teams that match their gender identities.

“I don’t think I’ve been angrier about an issue than I am about this sports thing,” said Mountain, 41.

Mountain became the first out transgender musher to compete in the 1,000-mile Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race through Alaska in March 2020 (he was forced to stop about 250 miles shy of the finish line because of the Covid-19 pandemic). Now, Mountain, who has garnered a sizable following on social media, is racing to educate the public and state lawmakers about the potential dangers of anti-trans sports bills.

“It sends a message to trans kids that they’re a problem to be dealt with, and that message, I think, is lethal,” he said. “This is so punitive. It’s using kids as a political cudgel.”

Second, two items on Apayauq Reitan (a link to her twitter page), a Transgender Inupiaq woman who competed in the 2022 Iditarod race:

Inupiaq musher set to make history in Iditarod

An Indigenous musher is set to make history Saturday, March 5, by becoming the first transgender woman to compete in the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, the premier sled dog race in the world.

Apayauq Reitan, Inupiaq, one of four Alaska Natives competing this year, said she hopes to inspire other transgender people.

“Part of why I’m entering the race again is because I want trans people to be able to see themselves, to see that you can be any kind of person you want to be,” she told Indian Country Today. “No matter what your interests are, you can transition and keep doing the things that you want to do. You don’t have to change your whole, entire life if you don’t want to.”

It’s the third consecutive year in which a transgender athlete has competed in the Iditarod, a 1,000-mile trail from Anchorage to Nome through flatland tundra, treacherous inclines, blizzard-prone summit passes, steep gorge descents and frigid river overflow.

Quince Mountain, a veteran of several mid-distance sled dog races, was the first trans man to compete in the Iditarod, making it about 714 miles into the 2020 race before race officials withdrew him, citing a rule related to competitiveness.

Will Francis Troshynski was the first transgender athlete to complete the Iditarod, finishing 34th of 36 in 2021. Nine mushers — including a former champion — scratched that year and one musher was withdrawn.

Reitan, Mountain and Troshynski say that the mushing community has been supportive of them as human beings and as athletes. Mushing is a socially isolated sport — when she’s not in Norway, Reitan is in Kaktovik, a village of 283 on Alaska’s Northern Slope — so a lot of support comes via social media.

Reitan won the Red Lantern Award for last place finisher.  That award is not an insult, because the Iditarod is like the Dakar Rally or the Tour de France.  Just finishing the 1600km race is a massive achievement in and of itself.  From Alaska News Source:

Iditarod live blog: Iditarod 2022 complete, musher’s banquet tonight

By Alaska’s News Source Digital Team

Published: Mar. 6, 2022 at 1:26 AM UTC|Updated: 22 hours ago

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) – This live blog is where the Alaska’s News Source team will post breaking updates, race standings and more throughout the 50th annual Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.

March 20 – 2:10 p.m.

Reitan takes home Red Lantern Award as final musher to arrive in Nome

Apayauq Reitan of Kaktovik has won the Red Lantern award, as the last musher to finish the Iditarod this year. Yuka Honda of Healy was not far in front of her, finishing just 11 minutes ahead of Reitan.

Reitan finished with seven dogs in 13 days, 8 hours, 39 minutes, and 13 seconds, crossing the finish line at 11:39 p.m. Saturday night.

“There was a part where it was blowing pretty hard from the side and we were going like almost at a 45 degree angle with the sled forward,” Reitan told at the finish line. “It’s very nice to be here and for so many people to have shown up. It’s nice to see.”

As the final finisher, Reitan extinguished both the Widow’s Lamp and the Red Lantern to signify that each musher had safely gotten off the trail.

In total, 37 mushers finished the Iditarod and 12 mushers scratched.

Finally, a screenshot from the reddit group, r/traaaaaaannnnnnnnnns.  I love these two comments:

DragonOfTartarus: Don’t you know? Dogs prefer trans women over cis women, so they work harder for them! Clearly trans women need to be banned from mushing!

SlayerOfDerp: Actually it’s that dogs can smell evil like in movies and that’s why they don’t like terfs specifically.


  1. says

    From time to time, when I encounter the not-an-argument “trans women have athetic superiority over cis women” in the wild, I ask one question of the doofus making said not-an-argument:

    If trans women do indeed have an innate advantage over cis women, then in any venue which allows trans and cis women to compete against each other, trans women should hold a disproportionate percentage of all 1st-thru-3rd place honors. Do trans women hold a disproportionately large percentage of such honors?

    So far, only one person has even made an attempt to answer the question. Said person cited 1 (one) trans woman, who is apparently a damn capable athlete, and has won just a whole lot of top honors in her athletic career. Which is all well and good, but one kick-ass athlete doth not support any proposition about any particular group to which said athlete happens to belong, you know?

    At this point, I’m pretty confident that any “trans superiority” argument for banning trans women from women’s sports is based entirely on bullshit and bigotry (but I repeat myself).

  2. lochaber says

    I don’t really care about sports, so I can be a bit dismissive of this angle of attack.
    I’m a cis guy, and not terribly weak, although I don’t really work out, and am certainly not an athlete.
    If I went to the gym of the local women’s powerlifting group, I wouldn’t be able to beat a single one of them.

    Maybe, if I spent a year doing some serious training, I might be able to outlift some of them, but probably wouldn’t even hit the 50% mark, let alone give their top lifters any serious competition.

    Competitive athletics is such a weird, niche, thing. Even for people who train extensively for years, the top competitors often have some really unique characteristic that gives them some edge, on top of all the practice and conditioning, and experience, etc.

    This is transphobic bullshit out of a bad 80s sitcom, where a cis male character throws on a dress and a wig and enters some women’s competition.
    I’ve already stopped talking to a couple people who spouted this nonsense, after saying something along the lines of “I don’t know if you are trying to troll me, or you really are buying into this bigoted nonsense, but I don’t have the time or energy to deal with either variety of asshole right now”
    I don’t have many friends, but I don’t want friends like that…

  3. Silentbob says

    My favourite Lia Thomas anecdote is when she lost in sixth place to a trans man – who had only socially, not medically, transitioned.

    It’s like that meme with the two buttons: “Trans men are biological women” OR “Trans women have a huge advantage over biological women”. Pick one. It’s enough to make smoke come out of a TERFs ears. X-D

    Their response to this – and I’m not even kidding – was to claim Thomas deliberately goes slow. Which makes her cunning plan even more cunning. She plots to dominate women’s sport by transitioning – and deliberately losing. Mwuahahaha. *twirls moustache*

  4. marner says

    Lia does deserve to be celebrated for being the first known transgender athlete to win a Division 1 national title, though. I cannot imagine how hard all of this must have been for her.