British Cycling to ban transgender women from taking part in female category of its competitions

British Cycling is to ban transgender women from the female category of its competitions after a nine-month review and consultation.

The female category will be “for those whose sex was assigned female at birth”. Transgender women will be banned from taking part in competitive female events, but they can take part in the men’s open category.

The policy change means transgender cyclist Emily Bridges cannot compete in women’s competitions.

The 22-year-old was banned from competing in her first women’s event in Derby 14 months ago when she was due to face five-time Olympic champion Dame Laura Kenny.

Bridges, who set a national junior men’s record over 25 miles in 2018, came out as a transgender woman in October 2020. She began hormone therapy last year to reduce her testosterone levels.

British Cycling said in a statement: “Research studies indicate that even with the suppression of testosterone, transgender women who transition post-puberty retain a performance advantage.

“Our aim in creating our policies has always been to advance and promote equality, diversity and inclusion, while at the same time prioritising fairness of competition.

“We recognise the impact the suspension of our policy has had on trans and non-binary people, and we are sorry for the uncertainty and upset that many have felt during this period.”

British Cycling CEO, Jon Dutton, said: “Our new policies are the product of a robust nine-month review process which we know will have a very real-world impact for our community both now and in the future. We understand that this will be particularly difficult for many of our trans and non-binary riders, and our commitment to them today is two-fold.

“First, we will continue to assess our policy annually and more frequently as the medical science develops, and will continue to invite those impacted to be an integral part of those conversations.

“Second, we will also continue to ensure that our non-competitive activities provide a positive and welcoming environment, where everyone can feel like they belong and are respected in our community, and take action to eradicate discrimination from the sport.

“I am confident that we have developed policies that both safeguard the fairness of cyclesport competition, whilst ensuring all riders have opportunities to participate.”

Reacting to the announcement on Instagram, Bridges called the policy “a violent act”.

She added: “I agree that there needs to be a nuanced policy discussion and continue to conduct research, but this hasn’t happened.

“Research isn’t being viewed critically, or any discussion about the relevance of the data to specific sports.

“Any discussion is inherently political and driven by bad faith actors, and the whole discussion is framed by the media who are driven through engagement by hate and funding from far-right ultra-capitalists.

“I’ve given my body up to science for the last two years, and this data will be out soon. There is actual, relevant data coming soon and discussions need to be had.”

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