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Transgender downhill mountain biker faces scrutiny after gender switch outed prematurely

Sport is competitive. How many athletes would knowingly take performance limiting drugs?

Growing up Kate knew she was a female trapped in a man’s body, and at just 17 made the life-changing decision to live as a woman. Source: Sunday

Well, downhill mountain biker, Kate Weatherly has done just that for three years. She says she doesn't have a choice.

"I honestly don't know if continuing life as a male, I would have been able to keep going."

Kate knew she was female but trapped in a man's body. She has gender dysphoria. At just 17 she made a life-changing decision, to live as a woman. The middle-of-the-pack competitive mountain biker took testosterone blockers and estrogen as she transitioned from male to female.

"It's been really hard, like seeing your times plateau or drop while training really hard. I used to be able to deadlift about 110 kgs and now I struggle to get up like 70 or 80 kgs."

Under Cycling New Zealand's supervision Kate planned to announce her gender switch to being a female competitor when she was ready. But last year someone from within the mountain biking community outed her as a woman prematurely, without Kate's consent.

"Being outed kinda meant that I didn't have that time where people were able to get used to the idea of me not being a dude."

Earlier this year when Kate won the national women's downhill title a firestorm erupted in the mountain biking community. Social media went ballistic.

"One of my favourites is the idea that I'm doing this to win races, which is ridiculous."

Fortunately, Kate has support from her family and her high school sweetheart, Arin, who is also transgender. They've been together for over four years.

"From start to finish we've been best friends and that hasn't changed despite everything that has."

Watch Kate’s story tonight on SUNDAY 7.30PM TVNZ1.