Life Style

British Cycling bans transgender women from competing in women’s competitions to ‘ensure fairness’

To “ensure the fairness of competition”, British Cycling has banned transgender women from racing in the women’s category at all events.

The national governing body’s new policy ends transgender racer Emily Bridges’ dream of competing for Britain or Wales in women’s races and puts pressure on the international sport’s governing body, the UCI, to strengthen its own rules.

British Cycling will change its current men’s category to an “open” category, allowing transgender women to compete against other male-born riders, while the women’s category will be reserved for those who were female at birth.

The new policy applies to all competitive activity – any race or event involving timing, ranking or prizes – and will be fully effective by the end of this year.

Transgender women are still allowed to ride with women in non-competitive cycling environments such as the Breeze community program.

Emily Bridges criticized British Cycling's policy of excluding transgender women from women's races

Emily Bridges criticized British Cycling’s policy of excluding transgender women from women’s races

In an Instagram post, Bridges commented on British Cycling for her handling of the issue and said she was sick of the conversation being “dictated on their terms and controlled by them”.

In her scathing statement she said: “British Cycling is a failed organisation, the racing scene is dying under your watch and all you do is take money from petrochemical companies and fight culture wars.”

She points out that the announcement follows a wave of measures across America affecting transgender people in the country.

Bridges wrote, “This is an act of violence.” When the government expresses admiration for the fascist state of Ron Desantis, which kidnaps children, and is dying to pass legislation that bans us from public life, it is an act of violence .

“British Cycling supports this, they are promoting genocide against us.” “Sport bans are the start, look at what’s going on in America.”

She accepted that “a differentiated political discussion” needed to take place but said British Cycling had not.

She added, “I’ve been giving my body to science for the last two years, and that data will be out soon.”

Bridges said she was “strongly considering leaving Britain – which she calls “that awful island” – due to the high level of hate crimes against transgender people there.

Bridges said she was considering leaving the UK over abuse of transgender people

Bridges said she was considering leaving the UK over abuse of transgender people

Bridges, here in August 2018 when he competed as a man, had set a national junior men's 25-mile record that same year

Bridges, now known as Emily, wanted to compete against women including Laura Kenny, but the race was abandoned in the 11th hour due to technical issues

Bridges, pictured left in August 2018 competing as a man, Zach had set a national junior men’s 25-mile record that same year. Now known as Emily Bridges, she wanted to compete against women including Laura Kenny in March last year but that was stopped

British Cycling chief executive Jon Dutton confirmed the bombshell news on Friday morning

British Cycling chief executive Jon Dutton confirmed the bombshell news on Friday morning

“Our new guidelines are the result of an extensive nine-month review process that we know will have a very real impact on our community both now and in the future,” said British Cycling CEO Jon Dutton.

“I am confident that we have developed policies that both ensure the fairness of cycling competition and ensure that all riders have an opportunity to participate.”

British Cycling’s previous rules allowed transgender women to compete in the female category provided they had reduced their testosterone levels to below five nanomoles per liter over a 12-month period.

However, they overruled that rule in April last year after Bridges – who previously competed as a male driver named Zach at Great Britain’s Academy – attempted to break into the women’s race at the National Omnium Championships, where she would have faced the five-time Olympic champion Laura Kenny.

British Cycling then began a consultation with female and transgender riders and reviewed the available medical evidence. It concluded that “trans women who transition after puberty retain a performance advantage even with testosterone suppression.”

Bridges was scheduled to face Laura Kenny at the National Omnium Championships

Bridges was scheduled to face Laura Kenny at the National Omnium Championships

This is the number one medical reason for the groundbreaking policy change, and they have taken advice from sports and equality advocates Mills & Reeve to ensure their new rules comply with the Equality Act should legal challenges arise against them.

British Cycling has attempted to contact about ten known transgender and non-binary riders – including Bridges – to update them on the new policy ahead of publication.

“I’m sorry it’s taken so long to get to this point,” said Dutton, who only landed in the role last month. “We know this has been an incredibly difficult time. It has created fear, uncertainty and heartache for many drivers and we have a duty of care to support those people.

“But today is about leadership and providing absolute clarity and direction to remove that uncertainty, however difficult that may be.” “In competition policy, fairness is key.”

British Cycling’s announcement comes less than four weeks after the sport’s most recent transgender storm, when American Austin Killips won the Tour of the Gila – the first transgender rider to triumph in an official UCI stage race.

The UCI currently allows transgender women to compete in female competitions provided they have reduced their testosterone levels to 2.5 nmol/L over a two-year period.

However, in the wake of the Killips dispute, they announced that they will resume consultation on their rules and will decide on any changes by August, when it is likely they too will ban transgender women from the female category.

American Austin Killips was the first transgender rider to win an official UCI stage race

American Austin Killips was the first transgender rider to win an official UCI stage race

Meanwhile, British Cycling and the UCI have different guidelines – but Dutton confirmed British teams will be selected for international events under the new national rules.

British Cycling’s move follows the move of other sports in recent months, with World Athletics, UK Athletics, World Aquatics and British Triathlon all among the governing bodies that have recently banned transgender women from the women’s category and are moving towards their men’s category to open to open them.

“We’ve always made it clear that this is a far bigger challenge than just a sport,” added Dutton. “We remain committed to listening to our communities and working with our other sports federations to monitor changes in the scientific and policy landscape and ensure sport is inclusive for all.”

“We have been open and transparent with the UCI in our decision and will be working with them to ensure a seamless implementation over the coming months.”



Source link

Related Articles

Back to top button