Transgender women won’t be allowed to compete in the female category, according to British Cycling
Following a nine-month assessment and consultation process, British Cycling will exclude transgender women from participating in the female division of its competitions.
Such athletes would compete in a “open category” with men under a new participation policy, which the governing body claimed was “predicated on fairness.”
“For those whose sex was assigned female at birth” will be the races that are classified as female.
The modifications will make it impossible for riders like Emily Bridges to join the British women’s team.
Although she was in compliance with the rules at the time, Bridges, the most prominent transgender cyclist in the nation, was barred from competing in her first elite women’s event by the UCI last year.
In a statement posted to social media in response to the news, Bridges referred to the modification as a “violent act” by a “failed organization” that was “controlling” the dialogue over transgender inclusion.
She continued by saying that British Cycling was fighting “culture wars” and that the racing scene was “dying under its watch”.
If they complied with testosterone-based requirements, transsexual women were permitted to compete in elite female events under British Cycling guidelines.
But because the governing body was at the center of the discussion about how to strike a balance between fairness and inclusivity, its rules were suspended and a review was started as the issue over Bridges grew.
British Cycling stated that research “indicates that transgender women who transition post-puberty retain a performance advantage, even with the suppression of testosterone.”
“We have always prioritized fair competition while advancing and promoting equality, diversity, and inclusion when developing our policies.
We regret the uncertainty and upheaval that many people have experienced during this time, and we acknowledge the impact the suspension of our policy has had on trans and non-binary persons.
Non-competitive leisure and social cycling will be open to transgender women without limitations.
By the end of the year, the new regulations will be put into effect.
Bridges replied, “You have no right to tell me when I’m done.”
Bridges criticized British Cycling’s current situation and how it treats transgender athletes in her remarks.
She said, “You could care less that cycling is still one of the whitest, straightest sports out there. “I concur that there should be a complex policy dialogue and ongoing study. This has not taken place.
“Research isn’t being analyzed critically, and there isn’t any discussion about how applicable the data is to particular sports.
“For the past two years, I’ve surrendered my body to science, and the results will be published soon.
There will soon be actual, pertinent facts, and debates are required.
Bridges declared she was “terrified to exist” and claimed discussion of the issue is “inherently political” and “framed by the media who are driven through engagement by hate.”
I know a lot of people may think I’m being theatrical or exaggerating how terrifying things are right now, she continued. Even if I still want to race my bike, I’m not sure. however, you have no right to tell me when I’m through.
What is the history?
In the past, Emily Bridges broke the national junior men’s 25-mile record, and in 2019 she was chosen to join British Cycling’s senior academy.
Bridges, a very talented young male athlete, came out as transgender in 2020 and began hormone therapy as part of her gender dysphoria treatment.
The transgender rules of British Cycling, which required athletes to have testosterone levels below five nanomoles per liter for a 12-month period before to competing, were then applicable to her, allowing her to race in elite women’s events.
Her aspirations of representing Wales at the Commonwealth Games were dashed, however, when the UCI announced that Bridges’ participation in the 2022 National Omnium Championships could only be permitted once her ability to race in international competitions was confirmed.
Elite female cyclists demanded that the UCI “rescind” its prohibitions on transgender athletes competing, alleging that female competitors in the UK were “willing to boycott” competitions due to “concerns about fairness in their sport”.
Bridges claimed that she had “little clarity” regarding her qualifications and felt “harassed and demonized.” She went on to say that she could provide data to demonstrate that she “does not have any advantage” over her rivals.
The UCI then tightened its standards, increasing the qualification period to two years and lowering the necessary testosterone threshold for transgender women cyclists to 2.5nmol/L, while British Cycling halted its requirements.
The world governing body, however, reopened consultation on the subject this month after Austin Killips became the first transgender woman to win a UCI women’s stage race at the Tour of the Gila, stating that it “hears the voices of female athletes and their concerns about an equal playing field for competitors.”
Listen to The Sports Desk podcast about the problem with transgender athletes.
Q&A: Key questions about transgender women in sports answered
Lack of research, says the head of British Cycling
Chief executive officer of British Cycling Jon Dutton stated, “We acknowledge the dearth of research at this time, but can only look at what is available to use.”
“I am confident that we have created policies that both ensure the fairness of competition in cycle sports and that all riders have access to opportunities to participate,” the author said.
“We have been quite clear about the fact that this is a challenge that transcends one sport. To ensure that sport is accessible to all, we are still dedicated to listening to our communities, tracking developments in the scientific and political context.
In its contests and events, UK Athletics also outlawed transgender women from competing in the female division in March. Similar moves have been made in swimming, triathlon, and both varieties of rugby.
According to several studies, even after using testosterone-suppressing medications, transgender women maintain their cardiovascular and strength advantages over female athletes.
Transgender athletes are criticized for competing in several women’s sports since they are perceived as having an unfair advantage over their peers and less opportunities than their competitors.
Others contend, however, that because there are so few professional transgender athletes, there is not enough in-depth research in the field, the science is unclear, and sport should be more inclusive, with open categories being criticized for being discriminatory.
Transgender women and non-binary persons can “continue to participate in a broad range of British Cycling activities in line with their gender identities,” according to British Cycling, which claimed its women-only community program “will continue to remain open and inclusive for them.”