A trans woman is making headlines across right-wing media for competing in the women’s category in the London Marathon. While this is sadly nothing new, what makes the outrage even more farcical is the fact that she placed 6,159th in an event open to the general public.
Personal trainer Glenique Frank had previously competed in marathons in New York City and elsewhere under the male category due to the gender marker on her passport. In the UK—where she is from—she was not required to sign up in accordance with her passport, and so she entered in the women’s category.
The New York Post led subsequently the charge against this one marathoner with the headline “Trans runner beat 14K women in London Marathon after running NYC as a man.” There were also over 6,000 other women who beat her in the marathon.
Referring to her critics, Frank told The Post in an interview, “They’re angry because they’re saying that one of 14,000 women behind me could have had my place. Really? I did [the race in] 4 hours 11 minutes. There’s lots of women that beat me.”
“The way that this bill targets children in the name of gender equality is insulting.”
Her placement in the marathon is ultimately beside the point—trans people shouldn’t have to lose sporting events in order to be allowed to participate. But the fact that she placed so far from first does make the framing of the story extra ludicrous.
While the marathon does include elite categories for professional runners that come with a cash prize, Frank competed in a mass event, receiving a participation medal along with all other runners. “I didn’t compete as an elite, so I didn’t steal any money,” said Frank.
But due to the outsized blowback and sudden media focus on her, Frank has offered to return the medal and compete in the male category next year. “If they really think I’ve stolen the place [of a female runner], I don’t mind giving the medal back, because I’ll run again next year for charity,” said Frank.
“But I don’t want to apologize, because I didn’t do anything wrong,” she added.
Frank explained that she has found the public scrutiny “traumatic.” For one, the Post insinuated there was something noteworthy in the fact that “she ran around the Big Apple in a bright-red bra and wore a long pink wig” after being forced to enter as male. Additionally, Olympic marathon runner Mara Yamauchi has dedicated her Twitter feed over the last few days to riling up her followers against this single marathoner. Frank said that she found this particularly sad, given she respects Yamauchi.
All in all, Frank expressed confusion at being publicly attacked while “trying to spread joy and happiness with the rainbow love.” In addition to spreading love, she’s raised over $37,000 for charity.
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