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Philippa York says macho culture prevents cyclists coming out

first_imgPhilippa York has suggested the macho culture in professional cycling is preventing riders from coming out as gay.York was King of the Mountains on the 1984 Tour de France while competing as Robert Millar and later disappeared from public life before transitioning to become a woman.It is 30 years since York struggled with gender dysphoria while still competing but she believes there is still an absence of a support system to allow an active rider to be openly homosexual. York was speaking before the Giro d’Italia which begins in Jerusalem on Friday, the first time the Grande Partenza – or start of the race – has been held outside Europe. There will be 175 riders competing for 22 teams and hundreds more backroom staff but York said her information was that none of them is openly gay. Reuse this content “There’s certainly no back up in any of the teams which would allow you to show any kind of gayness, anywhere on that gay spectrum,” she said.“It’s that whole macho culture of everybody’s straight white male and that’s it. The crazy thing is that the cycling model is set up by sponsorships, and those big sponsors, they’re usually big companies, they have a whole system of dealing with what I call the gay spectrum and they have no issue with it at all.“But for some reason there’s a whole reluctance [to come out as gay],” York told the ‘When Orla met …’ podcast. “If you look at even the set-up of the backroom staff, there’s no openly gay people.“It’s a prevalence of 5-6%, so you’ve got 200 riders at the Tour de France, 5-6% of that turns into 10 or 12 people. And that environment is not in any way accepting enough for them to say who they’re attracted to or who they’re with.“You can’t show any kind of weakness because, being gay, anywhere on that gay spectrum is seen as a weakness. In the macho world you can’t show that, because you’ll get more abuse from the side of the road than you get already.”York believes it will take at least a generation for the culture to change.“That is going to change when the young riders who are coming through school nowadays who get taught differently,” she said.The massive logistical operation of the Giro d’Italia was already under way on Monday with a Boeing 747 aircraft transporting the equipment, including several hundred bikes, to Israel. The race begins with a 9.7km time trial in Jerusalem on Friday.There will be two more stages in the country before the plane is loaded up again and flown the 2,000km to Sicily next Sunday when the Giro d’Italia transfers from Israel to Catania for the remainder of the race. Read more news … we have a small favour to ask. More people, like you, are reading and supporting the Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. And unlike many news organisations, we made the choice to keep our reporting open for all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford to pay.The Guardian will engage with the most critical issues of our time – from the escalating climate catastrophe to widespread inequality to the influence of big tech on our lives. At a time when factual information is a necessity, we believe that each of us, around the world, deserves access to accurate reporting with integrity at its heart.Our editorial independence means we set our own agenda and voice our own opinions. Guardian journalism is free from commercial and political bias and not influenced by billionaire owners or shareholders. This means we can give a voice to those less heard, explore where others turn away, and rigorously challenge those in power.We hope you will consider supporting us today. We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism that’s open and independent. Every reader contribution, however big or small, is so valuable. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you. Share via Email Topics Cycling Share on Messengercenter_img Share on Facebook Share on LinkedIn Since you’re here… Share on Pinterest Share on Twitter Share on WhatsApp Support The Guardian Philippa York: ‘I’ve known I was different since I was a five-year-old’last_img read more

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