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Emily Bridges says Boris Johnson’s comments on transgender athletes led to threats of physical violence against her

Prime Minister said in April that he did not believe that “biological males should be competing in female sporting events”

Transgender cyclist Emily Bridges has revealed that she received threats of physical harm after Boris Johnson said that he did not believe that “biological males should be competing in female sporting events.”

The Prime Minister made his remarks to  journalists during a hospital visit in April, a week after Bridges first hit the headlines after the UCI blocked her from competing in the National Omnium Championships.

The event would have marked the debut in a women’s race for the 21 year old, who had undergone hormone replacement therapy that led to her testosterone levels having fallen within the limits stipulated by British Cycling.

Explaining the reasoning behind his view, Johnson said: “It just seems to me to be sensible."

“I also happen to think that women should have spaces – whether it is in hospitals or prisons or changing rooms or wherever – which are dedicated to women,” he continued.

“That doesn't mean that I am not immensely sympathetic to people that want to change gender, to transition and it is vital that we give people the maximum possible love and support in making those decisions,” he added.

Bridges, who said last month that transgender athletes have become “the current  punching bag in the culture war” has now revealed the direct impact the Prime Minister’s words had on her.

She told ITV News: “It's really strange to see probably the most famous man in Britain talking about you and having an opinion on something that he doesn't know anything about.

“The response after that was as expected, I had threats of physical violence made against me by complete strangers online.

“People are entitled to hold an opinion about it, but there's a way to go about voicing that opinion – and threatening to kneecap me is not that way.

“I'm scared a lot of the time about being who I am in public. Is someone going to recognise me? They were real concerns and it was a real fear that I had after the comments were made, and it was scary. I was scared.”

> Transgender cyclist Emily Bridges insists she has no advantage over rivals

After Bridges was blocked from racing at the National Omnium Championships, British Cycling suspended its Transgender and Non-Binary Participation Policy.

“I think there's a lot of public pressure to pull the policy and I think that's why it was it was pulled,” said Bridges, who added that she had heard nothing from British Cycling since.

“They said that they'd be in touch about the procedure, about how they were going to make the new policy,” she said. “But I haven't heard anything.

“So, either they're not doing anything or they're not doing what they said in their email to me and including me in making a policy.”

A British Cycling spokesperson told ITV News that the governing body would provide an update on its review of its Transgender and Non-binary Participation Policy shortly.

“We are determined to ensure that cycling is a welcoming and inclusive place for all, and we are working hard to find a better answer to the challenge of balancing inclusion and fairness in competition which is shared by many other sports,” the spokesperson said.

“In doing this we have called on a coalition of organisations and voices, both within and outside of sport, to come together so that we can provide all athletes with the clarity and certainty they deserve.

“We believe that it is important that there is consistency between our Transgender and Non-binary Participation Policy and the policies and guidance held by other governing bodies and key stakeholders.

“For this reason, we are currently undertaking a full and thorough review of our policy and will share further details on the framework for this in the coming weeks.

“We sincerely apologise for the uncertainty caused by the suspension of our policy, particularly for the transgender and non-binary communities and women in our sport, and we will be actively engaging with these communities as part of our policy review,” the spokesperson added.

Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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37 comments

Avatar
Jimwill | 1 year ago
3 likes

Boris weren't wrong. Blokes shouldn't really be racing women.

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Rik Mayals unde... | 1 year ago
0 likes

I thought I was reading the BBC website for a minute, looking at all the anti Boris comments. Can we leave that to the Beeb, and comment just on the story here? If anyone wants to slag Bojo off about fuck all to do with this story, head over to the BBC please. Then I can at least read one forum that is BJ free.

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Rendel Harris replied to Rik Mayals underpants | 1 year ago
3 likes
biker phil wrote:

I thought I was reading the BBC website for a minute, looking at all the anti Boris comments. Can we leave that to the Beeb, and comment just on the story here? If anyone wants to slag Bojo off about fuck all to do with this story, head over to the BBC please. Then I can at least read one forum that is BJ free.

This is a story about Boris Johnson's comments about Bridges, how are people going to keep it free of comments about Boris Johnson?

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mdavidford replied to Rendel Harris | 1 year ago
1 like
Rendel Harris wrote:
biker phil wrote:

I thought I was reading the BBC website for a minute, looking at all the anti Boris comments. Can we leave that to the Beeb, and comment just on the story here? If anyone wants to slag Bojo off about fuck all to do with this story, head over to the BBC please. Then I can at least read one forum that is BJ free.

This is a story about Boris Johnson's comments about Bridges, how are people going to keep it free of comments about Boris Johnson?

Squirrels?

Avatar
hawkinspeter replied to mdavidford | 1 year ago
1 like
mdavidford wrote:

Squirrels?

That'll never work

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EM69 | 1 year ago
4 likes

"Never in the field of human conflict have so many been let down by so few"

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sparrowlegs | 1 year ago
10 likes

After reading the full quote (thanks to open_roads) I'd say it's one of the least controversial things Bozza has said.

What did people want him to say? "Yes, I think biological men crushing biological women at sports is something to be applauded, even if there is evidence that the advantages bestowed on men through puberty can't be written off with just 12 months of hormone therapy".

BC could have handled it better, that's a given, but Emily hasn't done herself or her cause any good by racing with and beating male competitors the month before she was due to race against women. 

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nosferatu1001 replied to sparrowlegs | 1 year ago
3 likes

Yawn. You again. 

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sparrowlegs replied to nosferatu1001 | 1 year ago
8 likes

Hiya  1

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eburtthebike | 1 year ago
10 likes

While this situation may not be entirely Boris the liar's fault, he does have history of throwing petrol on the flames.  Perhaps he'll add that to his list of things to genuinely, oh so genuinely, apologise for.

As for the media having a field day, well, they couldn't miss this one could they?  Two out groups, transgender and cyclist, in one package that they can still attack for no reason and get away with it.

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nosferatu1001 replied to eburtthebike | 1 year ago
3 likes

I don't think if he started now he could finish apologising before he dies. 
starting with every person who died u ecessarily during rhe pandemic. 

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Dnnnnnn replied to nosferatu1001 | 1 year ago
7 likes

Rather straying off-topic but England's record on COVID deaths is fairly 'mid-table' among developed nations. We had a terrible start because the government listened to bad scientific advice but our vaccine rollout was good.

There are plenty leaders with as much, or more, apologising to do as ours.

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chrisonabike replied to Dnnnnnn | 1 year ago
4 likes

Not wanting to open the tin but... in absolute numbers maybe but if you look at this proportional to population we are not particularly good.  If you look over time the picture is mixed with some serious "missed opportunities" or "wrong turns".  We got a vaccine quick, we did't lock up the place completely - but we didn't avoid having lockdowns either.  Our strategy also failed to prevent a major second wave - when we should have had some idea what we were doing.  For some populations (vulnerable) we clearly didn't do well. But maybe given previous funding priorities maybe we have been much different.

Handy interactive graph here:

https://ourworldindata.org/explorers/coronavirus-data-explorer

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Dnnnnnn replied to chrisonabike | 1 year ago
2 likes

I mostly agree. And don't want to open the tin or hijack the thread further either.

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check12 replied to Dnnnnnn | 1 year ago
4 likes

Lying about protecting care homes, While at the same time discharging patients from hospital to care homes without testing them first and so putting all the residents their at risk. Keeping the country open so the horse racing could go on and causing massive spread of infections... mid table bullocks 

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Dnnnnnn replied to check12 | 1 year ago
3 likes
check12 wrote:

Lying about protecting care homes, While at the same time discharging patients from hospital to care homes without testing them first and so putting all the residents their at risk. 

Is that Nicola Sturgeon you're referring to about care homes? 'Cos that's what she did.
If the horse racing you mean was 2020 Cheltenham, then that sort of thing was part of the terrible start I mentioned. And later lockdowns were too slow.
Mid-table I took from here: www.statista.com/statistics/1104709/coronavirus-deaths-worldwide-per-mil...

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open_roads | 1 year ago
10 likes

Johnson has been accused of dog-whistle politics (or similar), running a culture war and of "letting his mouth run away with him" (below) so it's worth looking at the context of the question asked of him and his full response.

Reporters on a hospital visit asked him to comment about the existing stories in the press about Emily Bridges participating in a womens event. He could have chosen not to answer but did so.

Here's his full reply:

"I don't think biological males should be competing in female sporting events. Maybe that is a controversial thing to say, but it just seems to me to be sensible.

I also happen to think that women should have spaces - whether it is in hospitals or prisons or changing rooms or wherever - which are dedicated to women.

That doesn't mean that I am not immensely sympathetic to people that want to change gender, to transition and it is vital that we give people the maximum possible love and support in making those decisions.

That's as far as my thinking has developed on this issue. Now if that puts me in conflict you know, some others, then - we've got to work it all out.

That doesn't mean that I'm not immensely sympathetic to people who want to change gender and transition - it's vital we give people the maximum love and support in making those decisions.. but these are complex issues and I don't think they can be solved with one swift easy piece of legislation, it takes a lot of thought to get this right."

I'd put good money that if Keir Starmer had said the same many of the people criticising Johnson / admittting to be outraged by his reply wouldn't have had a problem with it.

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moonfruit replied to open_roads | 1 year ago
6 likes

The Conservatives now have one MP who has come out as a trans woman, and despite the above, Johnson has been standing at the dispatch box at PMQs answering Starmer's questions about the energy crisis etc with the same dog whistle ... ''he doesn't even know what a woman is''.   

As I had said earlier, despite any fine words that he says, we learn that what he says can not be trusted.  The article is concerned with the fact that after Johnson made his remarks it seemed to inflame tensions and resulted in Emily Bridges receiving a lot of negative mail.

I believe that Johnson is playing the game of provoking a culture war while simultaneously leading his 'war on woke'.  This is what makes him a bad faith unreliable actor. 

I could point to other examples, but this case is specifically in regard to the shabby treatment of Emily  Bridges.

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eburtthebike replied to moonfruit | 1 year ago
5 likes
moonfruit wrote:

I believe that Johnson is playing the game of provoking a culture war while simultaneously leading his 'war on woke'.  This is what makes him a bad faith unreliable actor. 

I could point to other examples, but this case is specifically in regard to the shabby treatment of Emily  Bridges.

I'd ask you to list them but there isn't enough space on road.cc.

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brooksby replied to eburtthebike | 1 year ago
5 likes
eburtthebike wrote:
moonfruit wrote:

I believe that Johnson is playing the game of provoking a culture war while simultaneously leading his 'war on woke'.  This is what makes him a bad faith unreliable actor. 

I could point to other examples, but this case is specifically in regard to the shabby treatment of Emily  Bridges.

I'd ask you to list them but there isn't enough space on road.cc.

... or possibly on the entire internet.

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Mungecrundle replied to open_roads | 1 year ago
4 likes

Thanks for posting the full quote and context. Boris isn't my favourite soon to be ex PM, but to be fair, his on the spur of the moment response to this question is more reasonable and thought out than many of the at leisure, luxury of revision, keyboard opinions expressed on this and other sites.

Sometimes you have to throw a tantrum and make outrageous demands to get attention. If nothing else, Emily is getting attention.

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Jenova20 replied to open_roads | 1 year ago
3 likes

Starmer is still dodging the issue as far as i've seen.

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moonfruit replied to Jenova20 | 1 year ago
10 likes
Jenova20 wrote:

Starmer is still dodging the issue as far as i've seen.

“A woman is a female adult, in addition to that, trans women are women.''

''And that is not just my view, that is actually the law.''

“It has actually been the law through the combined effects of the 2004 [Gender Recognition] Act and the 2010 [Equality] Act.”

 

Keir Starmer

 

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Jenova20 replied to moonfruit | 1 year ago
2 likes
moonfruit wrote:
Jenova20 wrote:

Starmer is still dodging the issue as far as i've seen.

“A woman is a female adult, in addition to that, trans women are women.''

''And that is not just my view, that is actually the law.''

“It has actually been the law through the combined effects of the 2004 [Gender Recognition] Act and the 2010 [Equality] Act.”

 

Keir Starmer

 

Nice one

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moonfruit replied to Jenova20 | 1 year ago
7 likes

 

[/quote]

Nice one

[/quote]

Thank you for that reply.  It was after Starmer made that statement that Johnson began to taunt him at the dispatch box.  Starmer would ask a question about windfall tax or some such, and Johnson would begin his reply with a transphobic dog whistle, ''he doesn't even know what a woman is''.  Johnson propogates the culture war, and then convinces people that he is fighting against it.  People actually are convinced too, as Emily Bridges found out.

 

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nosferatu1001 replied to moonfruit | 1 year ago
4 likes

Yes, but then people are gullible, and easily led, as shown by the northern voters voting Tory then getting shocked that the Tory's are screwing the north, again 

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chrisonabike replied to nosferatu1001 | 1 year ago
1 like

According to meeja it wasn't the attraction of the Tories but Northern voters giving Labour a kicking for stuff they didn't like:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/election-2019-50771014

However another analysis suggests that while there was some shift in 2017-2019 from labour to the tories, over the last decade there was no mass stampede.  More that the labour vote went up then came back to the same level, while the tories slowly caught up by taking much of the lib dem and UKIP share.

https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/oureconomy/labour-red-wall-and-vicissitudes-britains-voting-system/

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brooksby | 1 year ago
9 likes

Let's face it, Emily isn't the only (and certainly won't be the last) person to get in trouble after (if generous) Johnson has let his mouth run away with itself or (if not generous) Johnson has decided to throw as many people he can under the bus in case it hits him instead... (cf. Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe).

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squidgy | 1 year ago
10 likes

The way she is being hounded and demonised in the lowest parts of the press is disgraceful.  2 Articles today in the one gutter tabloid. They are out to get her and wont have any dissent on their laughable and rediculous comments section.  

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nosferatu1001 replied to squidgy | 1 year ago
9 likes

Of course they are after her - this is the rights current dog whistle topic, and is being used to leverage even more antiLGBTQIA+ Sentiment and legislation. Happening in the states. The current Ohio anti trans legislation which requires inspection of kids genitalia is just the start. 

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