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"Dumped by email": Mother of transgender cyclist Emily Bridges speaks out after British Cycling decision to suspend trans policy

UK's largest network of LGBTQIA+ cyclists PRiDE OUT accuses British Cycling of "bending to political pressure and cowing to the transphobic gender-critical movement"...

The mother of transgender cyclist Emily Bridges has commented on British Cycling's treatment of her daughter, simply saying "dumped by email", after the national governing body's decision to suspend its transgender policy pending review of the current system.

Yesterday, British Cycling released a statement saying the current system is "unfair on all women riders and poses a challenge to the integrity of racing", and announcing they have suspended the transgender and non-binary participation policy.

> British Cycling suspends transgender policy pending review of current system as falllout from Emily Bridges case continues

The decision came a week after the UCI's decision to bar Bridges from competing at the women's British Omnium Championship, her first race as a woman. British Cycling had initially cleared the 21-year-old to race due to her testosterone levels being sufficiently low.

However, amid a backdrop of riders reportedly ready to boycott the event, British Cycling said Bridges could not compete because of the UCI's intervention.

In reaction to the news of the suspended transgender policy, Sandy Sullivan, Emily's mother posted on social media saying the national governing body had dumped her daughter by email.

 Member of Scottish Parliament Karen Adam was one of the many to reply to the tweet, saying: "History will judge. Statements from orgs [organisations] like these are going to be the thing of shame and embarrassment to look back on."

> Transgender cyclist Emily Bridges breaks silence to question "alleged ineligibility"

The largest network of LGBTQIA+ cyclists in the UK, PRiDE OUT, then released a statement accusing British Cycling of "bending to political pressure and cowing to the transphobic gender-critical movement".

PRiDE OUT strongly believes in the inclusion of all trans people in cycling. Today's shocking and disappointing announcement from British Cycling appears to be bending to political pressure and cowing to the transphobic gender-critical movement.

British Cycling's decision to immediately suspend their current trans and non-binary participation policy, due to it being a fast-moving area of sports policy and scientific research doesn't appear to make much sense. Assuming they have been in contact with the centres of excellence researching trans performance in sport, based at Loughborough and Brighton Universities, it raises the question where is the alleged fast-moving science coming from?

When British Cycling launched its first transgender and non-binary participation policy in October 2020, it was celebrated as 'establishing the requirements for enabling participation and creating a welcoming and inclusive environment in cycling at all levels'. The policy was reviewed six months later, and following a comprehensive eight-month consultation period, a further update was issued in January 2022.

Simultaneously, in February 2021, British Cycling appointed a 12-strong panel of external members to form an external Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Group to hold British Cycling to account on matters like this. Therefore we are presuming they must have been consulted on the policy, and somehow collectively given their approval.

Why are we now in a situation where trans people appear to be banned from racing at an elite level in cycling, indefinitely? It also seems to put a question mark over the small number of trans people who are already participating in cycling sport, at non-elite level.

In a later tweet, PRiDE OUT added: "It does make you wonder if there is ingrained prejudice from some quarters of large cycling institutions."

Boris Johnson joined the discussion this week, saying he does not "think that biological males should be competing in female sporting events".

Admitting it was not an issue he expected to "consider in great detail", the Prime Minister said: "I don’t think that biological males should be competing in female sporting events. And maybe that’s a controversial thing, but it just seems to me to be sensible."

Johnson's comments came on the same day the head of British Cycling's Olympic and Paralympic programme signed a letter calling on the UCI to tighten its rules on allowing tansgender cyclists to compete in women's events.

The letter addressed to UCI president David Lappartient was signed by "a group of retired Olympians, elite cyclists, scientists, researchers, and supporters of female cycling sport who wish to express our deep regret that it took a crisis situation to get us to the point where the UCI has admitted that rule 13.5.015 is ‘probably not enough’."

Last weekend, Team GB's 2008 Olympic gold medallist Nicole Cooke called on a separate category for transgender athletes, while retired pro Pippa York criticised the "toxic environment" surrounding the Bridges' case, including "endless talk about trans women invading sport, taking girls’ places, erasing them, denying them a future… Framed as concerns, fairness, safety."

Dan joined road.cc in 2020, and spent most of his first year (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. At the start of 2022 he took on the role of news editor. Before joining road.cc, Dan wrote about various sports, including football and boxing for the Daily Express, and covered the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for The Non-League Paper. Part of the generation inspired by the 2012 Olympics, Dan has been 'enjoying' life on two wheels ever since and spends his weekends making bonk-induced trips to the petrol stations of the south of England.

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78 comments

Avatar
Ramz replied to sparrowlegs | 1 year ago
2 likes

So trans women can compete as women unless they actually win (an incredibly rare occurance, in reality)? That kind of begs the question doesn't it?

UCI and BC frame this as "protecting women from unfair competition" yet if we wanted to protect women cyclists we would abolish UCI and BC and replace them with bodies that had women athlethes' interests at their heart.

Lest we forget, testosterone testing comes from a long history of dodgy pseudo-science and the athletics regulators are the ones who have held back women's participation in sport for decades. These regulations are not coming from a good place and they are about continued subjegation of women in sport, as Doyle argues here: https://thesportspectacle.com/2016/08/16/capturing-semenya/ 

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sparrowlegs replied to Ramz | 1 year ago
3 likes

Caster Semenya is not trans, she is intersex (DSD) so shouldn't really be used to push the trans argument. Only 0.0018% are intersex. 
I never said trans women can compete as long as they don't win. My stance has always been trans women shouldn't compete against non-trans women.  
You'll no doubt bring in "nuance" and say things like "it's complicated" but the facts are that trans women carry quite a few advantages over non-trans women. Deny biology/science all you want but they are based on facts, not ideology. 

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nosferatu1001 replied to Ramz | 1 year ago
0 likes
Ramz wrote:

So trans women can compete as women unless they actually win (an incredibly rare occurance, in reality)? That kind of begs the question doesn't it?

UCI and BC frame this as "protecting women from unfair competition" yet if we wanted to protect women cyclists we would abolish UCI and BC and replace them with bodies that had women athlethes' interests at their heart.

Lest we forget, testosterone testing comes from a long history of dodgy pseudo-science and the athletics regulators are the ones who have held back women's participation in sport for decades. These regulations are not coming from a good place and they are about continued subjegation of women in sport, as Doyle argues here: https://thesportspectacle.com/2016/08/16/capturing-semenya/ 

but if they DONT win, you have abhorrent transphobes deciding that they must have thrown the event in order to not draw attention. Or some other trolling nonsense. 

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Sriracha replied to nosferatu1001 | 1 year ago
1 like
nosferatu1001 wrote:

but if they DONT win, you have abhorrent transphobes deciding that they must have thrown the event in order to not draw attention. Or some other trolling nonsense.

It's difficult to argue with someone who slanders anyone who does not agree.

The situation you describe represents a perverse incentive. Whether or not a given competitor has yielded to that incentive is not the issue. So you can hold off asking for proof that so-and-so has deliberately performed sub-par (and you know such proof is almost impossible to provide, which is why you ask), and accept - since you have described it yourself - that the situation exists when you have transwomen competing against women. If you run a competitive sport in the face of obvious perverse incentives, there will always be questions asked.

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nosferatu1001 replied to Sriracha | 1 year ago
1 like

If you think anything is libellous, please point it out. I've, in my opinion, identified transphobic people from their transphobic written comments on here. 

There is a perverse incentive you can find for any competitor to throw a competition.  Gambling, for example. 
 

When, with absolutely no evidence - none, not even an analysis of performance past and present to suggest an abnormal time, for example - an accusation is made that the competitor threw a race purely to avoid adverse publicity when there may not have been any at all, well, that's quite a jump. 

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nosferatu1001 replied to sparrowlegs | 1 year ago
1 like

You keep stating "biological females" yet cannot define that for anyone. Care to do so now? 
 

you've had well over a month since first asked, so should,be trivial. 
 

also, not virtue signalling. It's about treating people who are women as women. 

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sparrowlegs replied to nosferatu1001 | 1 year ago
4 likes

I'll give you a clue. Emily Bridges is not a biological woman. Does that make it any clearer?

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nosferatu1001 replied to sparrowlegs | 1 year ago
2 likes
sparrowlegs wrote:

I'll give you a clue. Emily Bridges is not a biological woman. Does that make it any clearer?

ill give you a clue. You sound EXACTLY as idiotic as this guy

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/josh-hawle...

 

does that make it any clearer? 
also, please provide proof of what a biological woman is. Then you can prove Emily isn't.  Whoops, you're still stuffed there, aren't you? 

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sparrowlegs replied to nosferatu1001 | 1 year ago
1 like

You're still confusing gender with sex. 

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nosferatu1001 replied to sparrowlegs | 1 year ago
1 like

Nope, not at all.

did you read the link?

oh, do you have any proof that the trans competitor threw the match deliberately? Or are you just going to spread malicious statements and then run away when called on them?

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Dnnnnnn replied to nosferatu1001 | 1 year ago
1 like
nosferatu1001 wrote:

You keep stating "biological females" yet cannot define that for anyone

Isn't it the case that it's easy to define for the vast majority of women? Then there is a tiny proportion for whom it's much more difficult, and where setting an exact definition which is fair to all is actually rather difficult?

Or perhaps you have the perfect answer already - in which case, please share.

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nosferatu1001 replied to Dnnnnnn | 1 year ago
3 likes
Duncann wrote:
nosferatu1001 wrote:

You keep stating "biological females" yet cannot define that for anyone

Isn't it the case that it's easy to define for the vast majority of women? Then there is a tiny proportion for whom it's much more difficult, and where setting an exact definition which is fair to all is actually rather difficult?

Or perhaps you have the perfect answer already - in which case, please share.

Shockingly it isn't easy- which is the point. 
What tends to happen is it's a reductionist field day of misogynistic ideas usually revolving around the presence or otherwise of various reproductive organs.  
for example, the entire GOP managed to fall into this exact issue despite saying it was easy to do...

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/josh-hawle...

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Rik Mayals unde... replied to nosferatu1001 | 1 year ago
1 like

Well, in my world, a biological woman has a cervix, ovaries, breasts, has the ability to be able to reproduce and have babies. Whereas a biological male does not have any of the above and cannot have babies. That seems pretty clear to me, and anyone else with common sense.

Unfortunately, unless you're a lefty liberal woke, you cannot have eveything your own way in life, just because you want it.

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

Well, in my world, a biological woman has a cervix, ovaries, breasts, has the ability to be able to reproduce and have babies. Whereas a biological male does not have any of the above and cannot have babies. That seems pretty clear to me, and anyone else with common sense.

Unfortunately, unless you're a lefty liberal woke, you cannot have eveything your own way in life, just because you want it.

Okay, so women's competitions should only be open to women who have had a successful pregnancy and haven't reached menopause yet. To even it up a bit, the men's competitions should only be open to men who've fathered at least one child.

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ktache replied to hawkinspeter | 1 year ago
3 likes

It's the way that he has excluded the people who have had a full hysterectomy, or those who have had a double mastectomy, or indeed those infertile, from the definition of womanhood.

But wether or not it shows to him that simple definitions come with problems, I don't know.

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hawkinspeter replied to ktache | 1 year ago
2 likes
ktache wrote:

It's the way that he has excluded the people who have had a full hysterectomy, or those who have had a double mastectomy, or indeed those infertile, from the definition of womanhood.

But wether or not it shows to him that simple definitions come with problems, I don't know.

I shudder to think how he plans on categorising the junior teams

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nosferatu1001 replied to hawkinspeter | 1 year ago
1 like
hawkinspeter wrote:
ktache wrote:

It's the way that he has excluded the people who have had a full hysterectomy, or those who have had a double mastectomy, or indeed those infertile, from the definition of womanhood.

But wether or not it shows to him that simple definitions come with problems, I don't know.

I shudder to think how he plans on categorising the junior teams

Possibly a system of tattoos and numbers, so he can ensure only approved people csn enter? 

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chrisonabike replied to nosferatu1001 | 1 year ago
1 like

You say that like it's a bad thing!  Meanwhile the world has chosen to identify itself with chips... No this is not Covid-era (over already!) paranoia but the ones we all bought in our phones which we use to publicise our "private" lives.

Anyway on the plus side it would stop solve all those criminal cyclists getting away with it because they can't be identified.

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nosferatu1001 replied to chrisonabike | 1 year ago
0 likes
chrisonatrike wrote:

You say that like it's a bad thing!  Meanwhile the world has chosen to identify itself with chips... No this is not Covid-era (over already!) paranoia but the ones we all bought in our phones which we use to publicise our "private" lives.

Anyway on the plus side it would stop solve all those criminal cyclists getting away with it because they can't be identified.

absolutley - I wonder what phi would do for anyone who needs a hysterectomy though, or hits menopause.  Does their chip get wiped?

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chrisonabike replied to nosferatu1001 | 1 year ago
2 likes

Can't find it now but read years back a classic on the difficulties that systems then had of keeping track of / representing an individual in data.  Marginally relevant here because it went something like "Jenny Smith -> (growing up) -> Ms. Jennifer Smith -> (college) -> Dr. Jennifer Smith -> (marriage) -> Dr. Jennifer Jones / Mrs. Simon Jones -> (change of career) -> Revd. Jennifer Jones -> (divorce) -> Revd. Jen Smith -> (change of gender) -> Revd. John Smith -> (change of religion) -> Davider Singh -> (in politics) -> Hon. Davinder Singh, MP -> (enoblement) -> Lord Trent -> ..."

Anyway I was forgetting, didn't this all start from rules for higher-level competitions by a sporting organisation or something?

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chrisonabike replied to chrisonabike | 1 year ago
1 like

Again nothing to do with competition or rights but a note that even in existing traditional category and labelling systems there are a possibly surprising range of options e.g. Spanish surnames (note that the paternal one comes first though - but the opposite order in Portugal) More of this here.

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nosferatu1001 replied to chrisonabike | 1 year ago
0 likes

Absolutley - customer management systems have a huge fun time of this. Keeping track is so difficult, even by assigning unique ID and having field history to track the change of identifiers. 

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nosferatu1001 replied to chrisonabike | 1 year ago
1 like

And yeah, it's quite the track from "this sport bsck tracked on years of consultation and implementation in a matter of hours" to posters claiming anyone withiut a uterus isn't a woman. 

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Sriracha replied to nosferatu1001 | 1 year ago
0 likes
nosferatu1001 wrote:

And yeah, it's quite the track from "this sport bsck tracked on years of consultation and implementation in a matter of hours" to posters claiming anyone withiut a uterus isn't a woman. 

Much has been made of comments such as men have a penis, women have a uterus, or comments in a similar vein regarding fathering or bearing children etc used as a definition of biological sex. Immediately shot down by the argument that that excludes women who have had a hysterectomy and so on.

Two things. Firstly I would agree that just because a woman has lost her uterus or whatever does not mean she is no longer a woman. Likewise a man who has lost whatever male sexual characteristics does not cease to be a man.

Secondly, regarding the original statements, they should say that, for example, all people who can bear children are women, but not all women can bear children. All people who can father children are men, but not all men can father children. I would have though that was understood, but neglecting the second part is no reason to shoot down the first.

I think much of the argument could be deflated by being more precise.

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chrisonabike replied to Sriracha | 1 year ago
2 likes

Maybe some Venn diagrams would help?  Although given we're no longer talking about a static system they'd have to move.  So maybe something like those pop-up books?

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nosferatu1001 replied to Sriracha | 1 year ago
0 likes

But that's still rather insulting, is one of the main issues with cis-the men making that argument.  That all that matters about a women is her reproductive capabilities. 
misogyny is a thing. 

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Sriracha replied to ktache | 1 year ago
0 likes
ktache wrote:

It's the way that he has excluded the people who have had a full hysterectomy, or those who have had a double mastectomy, or indeed those infertile, from the definition of womanhood.

And yet, trans activism is not fuelled primarily by childless, infertile or menopausal women fighting to be recognised and admitted to womanhood.

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hawkinspeter replied to Sriracha | 1 year ago
2 likes
Sriracha wrote:
ktache wrote:

It's the way that he has excluded the people who have had a full hysterectomy, or those who have had a double mastectomy, or indeed those infertile, from the definition of womanhood.

And yet, trans activism is not fuelled primarily by infertile or menopausal women fighting to be recognised and admitted to womanhood.

Maybe because (almost) no-one uses such a short-sighted definition of womanhood

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Sriracha replied to hawkinspeter | 1 year ago
0 likes

Possibly so. Or possibly because women did not start the dispute in the first place.

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hawkinspeter replied to Sriracha | 1 year ago
2 likes
Sriracha wrote:

Possibly so. Or possibly because women did not start the dispute in the first place.

...depending on how you define "women"

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