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Emily Bridges set to mount legal challenge against British Cycling’s transgender policy

“While I have learned not to attach my entire self-worth to cycling, I’ll still be fighting British Cycling’s decision in the courts and the streets,” Bridges recently told Vogue

Emily Bridges, the transgender cyclist at the centre of a storm that engulfed British Cycling over the past year, prompting the national governing body to update its transgender and non-binary participation policies, has confirmed that she is set to mount a legal challenge against those changes.

In May, over a year after it suspended its transgender policy with immediate effect in the wake of Bridges’ controversial exclusion from the women’s British Omnium Championship in April 2022 and following a nine-month review, British Cycling announced its decision to introduce a new ‘Open’ category for competitive events, which will consolidate the existing men’s grouping and run alongside the female category.

> British Cycling updates transgender policy, introduces new "Open" category

In an interview this week with British Vogue – as part of Vogue 25, the magazine’s list of 2023’s most influential women – Bridges said that she will “fight” British Cycling’s new transgender policies “in the courts and the streets”.

Bridges’ mother, Sandy Sullivan, confirmed to road.cc today that her daughter intends to launch a legal challenge against the policies.

In her interview with Vogue, Bridges – who, in the wake of the policy update in May, accused British Cycling of “furthering a genocide” against transgender people – said that despite anticipating the creation of a new ‘Open’ classification, which would effectively ban trans women from competing in the female category, she was still “devastated” by the decision.

“I was 10 when I started cycling competitively. I did a few sessions in a velodrome, and I was instantly hooked,” she said in the article. “Soon after, I began working my way up through the British cycling ranks, setting a national record in 2018 before joining the GB cycling team for a year in 2020. I left the team that year to transition, and in 2022, I was in talks to rejoin the GB cycling team with an eye on the 2024 Olympic campaign.

“However, in May 2023, news came that British Cycling, the national governing body for the sport, was placing a ban on transgender women competing in the women’s category. I had foreseen it happening, but the confirmation was still devastating. Cycling competitively was my life for the past 12 years. But now, I’m divesting from the sport – I have to.”

> British Cycling’s new ‘Open’ category “patently designed to make sure that transgender women will compete at a major disadvantage”, says “perplexed” transgender cyclist

She continued: “Trans inclusion in sports has long been a highly contentious issue due to unsubstantiated concerns about transgender women having a physical advantage over cisgender women.

“At the end of last year, a report by the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport found that biomedical factors, such as bone density and lung size, do not pose an advantage for trans athletes, but that social factors – like nutrition and training quality – may do. I have dedicated my body to assisting research currently being undertaken at Loughborough University to shed more light on the issue.”

> UCI bans transgender female cyclists who have transitioned after puberty from competing in international women’s races

Just as in her initial critique of British Cycling’s new policy in May, Bridges once again lambasted what she regards as the governing body’s failure to tackle the sport’s inherent lack of diversity.

“Cycling is still an elitist sport, one where diversity, particularly at a competitive level, is bleak,” she says. “According to British Cycling’s website, the official Great Britain Cycling Team has only three non-white cyclists out of the 55 listed. It should focus its efforts on improving accessibility and making a concerted effort to diversify, not waging a war on trans competitors.

“As a kid, cycling was the thing that made me happiest in the world. But my relationship with the sport is complicated now. My experience over the past few years has tainted the positive memories, and I’ve had to really focus on the things that made the sport so enjoyable in the first place.

“And while I have learned not to attach my entire self-worth to cycling, I’ll still be fighting British Cycling’s decision in the courts and the streets. I’ll continue to march with my trans siblings and use the voice I have to challenge injustice in the world.”

British Cycling declined to comment when approached by road.cc.

Ryan joined road.cc in December 2021 and since then has kept the site’s readers and listeners informed and enthralled (well at least occasionally) on news, the live blog, and the road.cc Podcast. After boarding a wrong bus at the world championships and ruining a good pair of jeans at the cyclocross, he now serves as road.cc’s senior news writer. Before his foray into cycling journalism, he wallowed in the equally pitiless world of academia, where he wrote a book about Victorian politics and droned on about cycling and bikes to classes of bored students (while taking every chance he could get to talk about cycling in print or on the radio). He can be found riding his bike very slowly around the narrow, scenic country lanes of Co. Down.

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65 comments

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Vo2Maxi | 5 months ago
1 like

Realises she has no viable argument for competing in women's events with a male body, so spits her dummy out and inappropriately introduces a totally spurious argument about "ethnic inclusion" in elite cycling to in some way make out BC are an inherently unfair organisation. She's literally hysterical over this, as indeed are many at the extreme end of the trans community, with her talk of a "trans genocide".
What you will find Emily, is that far more BAME kids are interested in football and athletics. It's a cultural and yes, role model thing. Anyone in the UK can be involved in any sport they want, no one needs to feel guilty if their sport doesn't conform precisely to percentages in the overall population. Example: 50% of Premier League footballers are black, yet only 3.5% of our population are.

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Left_is_for_Losers | 6 months ago
0 likes

Read the room Emily. 

People know now that they can stand up to trans people and stand up for their own rights, and not bow to their demands every time. 

The move from BC (among many other sporting governing bodies) is absolutely correct and a solid move to protect womens cycling too, and the progress that has made in the last few years. 

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LookAhead | 6 months ago
7 likes
Emily Bridges wrote:

I Was Banned From Competitive Cycling Because I’m Trans

Emily Bridges wrote:

This is a violent act. British Cycling are supporting this, they are furthering a genocide against us. Bans from sport is how it starts, look at what is going on in America. It starts with sports bans, then youth and general healthcare and then bans from public life through bathroom bans.

I support trans people, trans people's right to be treated as full citizens with all the rights and privileges that entails, etc., etc., but the trans agenda does itself no favors by constantly trying to gaslight the rest of us into submission.

No, Emily, you were not banned from competitive cycling. There is no genocide in progress or in plan against trans people. No one wants to prevent you from using the bathroom or healthcare or from participating in public life more generally. And merely disagreeing with you does not make one a transphobe.

None of that is true, in fact or in spirit, and we won't be bullied into pretending it is.

Please, Emily, the best thing you can do for yourself and your cause is to join the rest of us here in reality. We'd love to have you, and you might even realize we're not so bad after all.

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chrisonabike replied to LookAhead | 6 months ago
1 like
Quote:

I support trans people, trans people's right to be treated as full citizens with all the rights and privileges that entails, ...

Not to comment on the rest but this is puzzling language. "Full citizens" - as opposed to what? Children? Slaves? Animals?

I guess this confusion is maybe prompted by the - also clearly confusing to some - "trans rights are human rights" slogan?

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LookAhead replied to chrisonabike | 6 months ago
5 likes

I mean that I believe that trans people are people, that they are not less than, that they should not be discriminated against, slaughtered, banned from sport, etc.

Perhaps the confusion is due to the dual reality that 1) the proposition is so obviously correct that it should go without saying and yet 2) it must be said because many people who think they're helping the trans cause constantly accuse the rest of us of not believing it.

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ErnieC replied to LookAhead | 6 months ago
1 like

Slaughtered? Sounds a bit OTT. 

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LookAhead replied to ErnieC | 6 months ago
3 likes

Indeed, a bit like genocide.

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ErnieC replied to LookAhead | 6 months ago
1 like

No. The Holocaust was genocide. What happened in Rwanda was genocide. This, this is not genocide, not even close. Let's see if this also gets deleted. 

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LookAhead replied to ErnieC | 6 months ago
1 like
ErnieC wrote:

No. The Holocaust was genocide. What happened in Rwanda was genocide. This, this is not genocide, not even close.

Quite right. You may want to re-read my posts if you think we're in disagreement on this point. For example, the part where I say:

LookAhead wrote:

No, Emily, you were not banned from competitive cycling. There is no genocide in progress or in plan against trans people....None of that is true, in fact or in spirit, and we won't be bullied into pretending it is.

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ErnieC replied to LookAhead | 6 months ago
4 likes

Agreed. I stand corrected. My apologies to you for the misunderstanding. 

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Vo2Maxi replied to LookAhead | 5 months ago
1 like

So how about when trans women start winning all the medals in women's events, as will undoubtedly happen? That's fair on women, is it?
Trans women are trans women, they are not women. Duh.

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LookAhead replied to Vo2Maxi | 5 months ago
0 likes
Vo2Maxi wrote:

So how about when trans women start winning all the medals in women's events, as will undoubtedly happen? That's fair on women, is it? Trans women are trans women, they are not women. Duh.

What is it that you're responding to? I don't believe I said anything to which that would be a meaningful response.

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Vo2Maxi replied to LookAhead | 5 months ago
1 like

Apologies Look Ahead, I seem to have clicked on the wrong Reply button, I suspect it was in response to christonatrike.

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LookAhead replied to Vo2Maxi | 5 months ago
0 likes

I don't think he did either🤔

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Secret_squirrel | 6 months ago
4 likes

Oh Emily. Your demand to have your cake and eat it too is in Elite sport is setting  recognition for really basic trans rights back years. 
You literally are the outlier they will point to to deny every trans person. 
Your tone cheapens the debate and makes you less than credible. 
Please stop for the sake of your own mental health until you can come back with gold plated peer reviewed scientific studies that indicate you have no advantage. 
It's disappointing that BC aren't willing to help in this but this ain't the way....

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JackieA replied to Secret_squirrel | 6 months ago
1 like

 Not so. Emily has used hrt to help transitioning as have I though in my case much later in life. Testosterone reduction is very effective in reducing strength and stamina. Perhaps more effective in my sport of mtb orienteering with events of 3 hours and longer

Briefly BC (I am a former Commissaire) is pretending that the new open class is fair to all entrants. Transgender women on testosterone limiting hrt do not compete on an equal footing. I transitioned late in life and know the effects. Emily has tried her utmost to have the effects of her transitioning closely checked scientifically.

 

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Rik Mayals unde... replied to JackieA | 6 months ago
1 like

That's as maybe. But, trans women still have an advantage over women. If not, please explain why men competing at a middling level become a trans woman, then suddenly are beating women and winning competitions. It is very interesting that there never seems to be trans men competing against men.

I think there should be categories for men, women, trans men, trans women and non binary. Then everyone can compete in a category which is fair to everyone else in that category.

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JackieA replied to Rik Mayals underpants | 6 months ago
1 like

MtoF transitioning is not done lightly and requires considerable psychiatric assessment. The objective is to become as near as possible to the woman within one's mind not to improve sporting success. In my case within months younger women I had been able to beat in events (though not competing directly) were comfortably passing me on climbs. They often encouraged me.

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Vo2Maxi replied to JackieA | 5 months ago
1 like

Maybe you're just a rubbish athlete?
I for one, do not doubt someone's sincerity when they transition, whatever works for you in your life, for your own mental health, wellbeing and sense of self. It's a tough road and there'll be some actual haters. But they are relatively few?
But you cannot just declare universally on your own terms, that you are now a woman, and should be allowed to compete in women's events.

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JackieA replied to Vo2Maxi | 5 months ago
0 likes
Vo2Maxi wrote:

Maybe you're just a rubbish athlete? I for one, do not doubt someone's sincerity when they transition, whatever works for you in your life, for your own mental health, wellbeing and sense of self. It's a tough road and there'll be some actual haters. But they are relatively few? But you cannot just declare universally on your own terms, that you are now a woman, and should be allowed to compete in women's events.

Was being an age related National Champion in my sport of Mountain Bike Orienteering several times rubbish? I was commenting after the experience of the effects of hormone replacement therapy. Had to resign from being a British Cycling Commissaire when before the current position there was an implied acceptance of transgender women with former race Licences could compete as long as they were unlikely to win. 
I had been allowed to compete in my sport but retired from competing during a two year check on a variable heart rate. Still ride the occasional event using an Emtb so being ineligible in leagues etc

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Secret_squirrel replied to JackieA | 6 months ago
1 like

Sorry Jackie.
Without wishing to take away from your personal experience it's not a gold plated peer reviewed study which is precisely why I used those words. 
I understand that Emily has been involved with some, which makes it all the more disappointing that she's gone full extremist. 

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Vo2Maxi replied to JackieA | 5 months ago
1 like

What BC pretended, was that a consistently fair and level playing field might be provided where trans female athletes could compete fairly with female athletes. They did this out of a kind sense of empathy and understanding: wouldn't it be great if this could be made to work, let's include everyone. They pretty soon realised it's a total minefield which is completely impractical, would be unreliable to impose, and ultimately unfair to women.
Other physical sports are coming around the the same conclusion.
There's no "fair" way of doing this.

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David9694 | 6 months ago
8 likes

It's an "all women-only spaces matter" being undermined by a kind of "all spaces matter" argument. My wife's view of this kind of thing is that there is something distinctly male about wanting to insert yourself into (what is still) someone else's space. 

From my narrow, male point of view, the person transitioning has left my "side" (e.g. the office I work in) and that's it.  I therefore haven't got someone wanting to be let in to my "side", so I'm not sure how I'd feel if I did.

The nearest I can get to this in practical terms is a on busy session at a student union, where there was often a queue for the ladies. It was common, accepted  practice to escort a woman into the men's to use one of the little-used cubicles. Seemed like good sense to me - but doing the opposite would not wash.  

I don't wish ill on trans people and for the factor mentioned above, I don't claim to have a sophisticated or definitive view on this issue, nor a solution.  I don't think bringing court cases is going to help matters in the long term.  If I'm really on the wrong side of this, then I will accept any decision the mods may make to remove this post. 

PS I see Luis Rubiales has been suspended by FIFA. Rather than try to claim the kiss was consensual (when the other party is clear that it was not) if he'd had said "I'm very sorry about what happened, I was so thrilled that our team won the final, I allowed myself to get carried away.  I apologise for my behaviour towards Jenni." would he not be in quite the mess he's in now?

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Fignon's ghost | 6 months ago
6 likes

Christ. Shine a light....
I thought this had been sorted.

"Hands up who can have kids"

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Boss Hogg replied to Fignon's ghost | 6 months ago
9 likes

My post about "a man pretending to be a woman and wanting to compete against women" (this is my view) has been deleted twice by the administrator. Is this the freedom of speech and tolerance the keepers of political correctness have been preaching about?

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Secret_squirrel replied to Boss Hogg | 6 months ago
8 likes

This is a private platform, freedom of speech is irrelevant you numpty. You post at the whim of the moderators.  
 

You'll be moaning about being cancelled next. 🤦‍♂️

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Boss Hogg replied to Secret_squirrel | 6 months ago
1 like

You can't hide your authoritarianism behind any cheap "private platform" and "cancel" neotalk nonsense, luv.

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chrisonabike replied to Boss Hogg | 6 months ago
3 likes
Boss Hogg wrote:

You can't hide your authoritarianism behind any cheap "private platform" and "cancel" neotalk nonsense, luv.

The internet has changed since your days as commissioner of Hazzard County, Boss.  It's no longer a secret military network common room for academic hippie types free for all.  It turns out it's just like a pub toilet *, a gallery or a newspaper.  If you write comments the management don't approve of don't be surprised if they not only don't publish them but scrub them off / lose them down the back of the reception desk.

After all - it's their freedom to "publish" or not...

* If it's shithouse walls you're wanting there is always 8chan 8kun - or even Twitter X

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Boss Hogg replied to chrisonabike | 6 months ago
2 likes

Hey Rosco, where have you been hiding? Looks like you've resurfaced to police the thread.

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ErnieC replied to Boss Hogg | 6 months ago
3 likes
Boss Hogg wrote:

My post about "a man pretending to be a woman and wanting to compete against women" (this is my view) has been deleted twice by the administrator. Is this the freedom of speech and tolerance the keepers of political correctness have been preaching about?

Had my post deleted for highlighting what genocide really is. 

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