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UCI bars transgender cyclist Emily Bridges from debut as woman at National Omnium Championships this weekend

British Cycling calls on governing bodies, transgender community and government “to come together and find a better answer”

British Cycling has confirmed that transgender cyclist Emily Bridges will not now make her competitive debut as a woman at the National Omnium Championships in Derby this weekend, saying that the UCI has informed it that under current regulations, she “is not eligible to participate in this event.”

We will have more on this story in the morning. In the meantime, in a statement released this evening, the national governing body said:

At British Cycling, we believe that transgender and non-binary people should be able to find a home, feel welcome and included, and be celebrated in our sport.

Under the British Cycling Transgender and Non-Binary Participation policy, Emily Bridges was due to participate in the British National Omnium Championships on Saturday 2nd April. We have now been informed by the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) that under their current guidelines Emily is not eligible to participate in this event.

We have been in close discussions with the UCI regarding Emily’s participation this weekend and have also engaged closely with Emily and her family regarding her transition and involvement in elite competitions. We acknowledge the decision of the UCI with regards to Emily’s participation, however we fully recognise her disappointment with today’s decision.

Transgender and non-binary inclusion is bigger than one race and one athlete – it is a challenge for all elite sports. We believe all participants within our sport deserve more clarity and understanding around participation in elite competitions and we will continue to work with the UCI on both Emily’s case and the wider situation with regards to this issue.

We also understand that in elite sports the concept of fairness is essential. For this reason, British Cycling is today calling for a coalition to share, learn and understand more about how we can achieve fairness in a way that maintains the dignity and respect of all athletes.

Within recent years, we’ve seen huge advancements in the science and testing around elite sports, the broader scientific and understanding of human biology, developments in protection provided by the law, and crucially a greater respect for the psychological and societal challenges of those who are transgender and non-binary. This is a complex area and by uniting, we can share resources and insights.

We know that some of these conversations are happening in pockets of the sporting world, but we want to encourage all sporting governing bodies, athletes, the transgender and non-binary athlete community, the Government and beyond to come together and find a better answer.

Across sports, far more needs to be done, collectively, before any long-term conclusions can be drawn.

Below is our original article, published at 1215 today.

A transgender cyclist who was once part of the men’s Great Britain Academy Programme, and who last month won a men’s race at the British Universities Track Championships, looks set to make her competitive debut as a woman against some of the country’s top female riders including multiple Olympic champion Dame Laura Kenny at the National Omnium Championships in Derby this weekend – although some competitors are said to be afraid to speak out about her potential participation in the event.

Emily Bridges, aged 21, revealed her struggles with gender dysphoria and the impact it was having on her, including depression and feeling isolated, in an article written for Sky Sports that was published on Coming Out Day in October 2020.

She started undergoing hormone therapy last year, and her testosterone levels are now sufficiently low to allow her to compete in women’s events under British Cycling’s Transgender and Non-Binary Participation Policy.

First published in 2020, the latest version of the policy was published in January this year following a consultation last summer that attracted 600 responses.

Transgender athletes are required to have testosterone levels below 5 nanomoles per litre for a year (men generally range between 10 and 30 nanomoles per litre) before being permitted to compete against other women.

Announcing the update, British Cycling said: “Our first Transgender and Non-Binary Participation Policy was designed to be as inclusive as possible, imposing only necessary and proportionate restrictions on eligibility to ensure fair and meaningful competition, based on the most relevant available guidance.”

The governing body said that it would “continue to follow the UCI regulations introduced in March 2020, which are based on objective scientific research and driven by a desire to guarantee fairness and safety within the sport …  For this reason, testosterone levels remain the primary method of determining which members are eligible to compete in the male and female categories.”

It added: “While there has been much commentary on the effectiveness of testosterone-based measures, at the current time we do not have sufficient research or understanding to update this area of our policy in a way which is relevant and appropriate for our sport.

“However, we remain committed to moving with international bodies and scientific opinion, and supporting research efforts in any way we can.”

News of Bridges’ likely participation in Derby this weekend has attracted criticism within the media, with Owen Slot, chief sports writer at The Times, writing that should she beat Kenny – five times an Olympic gold medallist, two of those in the Omnium – this weekend, it would underline the unfairness of allowing transgender women to compete in female sports events.

Meanwhile, Olympic silver medal-winning former swimmer Sharron Davies, who believes that despite reduction of testosterone levels, transgender women retain an unfair physical advantage over biological females and should therefore be excluded from women’s sport, says that she has been contacted by women cyclists who are fearful of going public with their concerns.

“British Cycling ought to be ashamed of themselves,” she said, quoted on Mail Online. “I have had quite a few of the girls very distressed on the phone. They are frustrated and disappointed. 

“They are all for inclusion but not at the loss of fairness and opportunities for biological females.”

However, Bridges’ mother Sandy, writing on Twitter, said that her daughter may have to have police protection at the championships this weekend.

“This is the reality of being trans today,” she wrote. “That my daughter has to be on a police operation plan to compete in a bike race in the UK. How in any way can that be #SafeToBeMe2022.”

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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301 comments

Avatar
sparrowlegs | 1 year ago
0 likes

I think this thread is done now.  

BC have taken the common sense approach and stopped Emma from competing.

Until the next thread...

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sparrowlegs | 1 year ago
0 likes
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mark1a | 1 year ago
3 likes

Just to add, I'm going out on my bike this weekend.

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Sriracha | 1 year ago
1 like

For any who are care, I found this an interesting read. I'm not putting it up here for argument's sake or to prove one point or the other - that would be foolish since I've not read to the end of it yet (it's fairly long, Im a slow reader). But I have found it interesting so far. It's written by a gay man ...
https://duncanhenry.substack.com/p/tra-to-gc?s=r&utm_campaign=post&utm_m...

PS looks like we've overloaded the comment thread software

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Welsh boy replied to sparrowlegs | 1 year ago
2 likes

sparrowlegs wrote:

I think this thread is done now.  

BC have taken the common sense approach and stopped Emma from competing.

Until the next thread...

Can you tell me exactly what "common sense" is please? It sounds like an opinion which agrees with your point of view. Isn't it funny how "common sense" varies from person to person and is not common to everyone and changes as your knowledge of a subject increases, everyone thinks that they have just the right amount of "common sense" and that people who don't share their point of view don't have enough common sense. I cringe whenever I hear the phrase. 

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hawkinspeter replied to mark1a | 1 year ago
1 like

mark1a wrote:

Just to add, I'm going out on my bike this weekend.

Is it a man or woman's bike?

Women's bikes don't have a cross-bar, so it's trivial to determine which is which.

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sparrowlegs replied to Sriracha | 1 year ago
0 likes

Fascinating reading so far. Thanks for posting that. 

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chrisonatrike replied to hawkinspeter | 1 year ago
1 like

hawkinspeter wrote:

mark1a wrote:

Just to add, I'm going out on my bike this weekend.

Is it a man or woman's bike?

Women's bikes don't have a cross-bar, so it's trivial to determine which is which.

Confound it! A mixte!  Why won't the world stay still a minute?

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chrisonatrike replied to chrisonatrike | 1 year ago
4 likes

Wait - I'm non-binary...

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nosferatu1001 replied to hawkinspeter | 1 year ago
0 likes

hawkinspeter wrote:

mark1a wrote:

Just to add, I'm going out on my bike this weekend.

Is it a man or woman's bike?

Women's bikes don't have a cross-bar, so it's trivial to determine which is which.

 what type of bike is a mullet?

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hawkinspeter replied to nosferatu1001 | 1 year ago
2 likes

nosferatu1001 wrote:

what type of bike is a mullet?

I think it's a type of hairstyle. We're not going to get into which hairstyles are male and female now are we?

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nosferatu1001 replied to hawkinspeter | 1 year ago
1 like

love that pic

given the site this is likely heresy...

https://images.app.goo.gl/ft8756rtBkShzYxi9

 

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hawkinspeter replied to nosferatu1001 | 1 year ago
1 like

nosferatu1001 wrote:

love that pic

given the site this is likely heresy...
https://images.app.goo.gl/ft8756rtBkShzYxi9

Well, that's got a clear cross-bar, so it's a male bike.

As an aside, I did read a while ago about a theory that western society is pre-occupied with dualities largely due to Christianity and it's inherent dualities (Adam/Eve, good/evil, heaven/hell). Other societies have had a less polarised view of genders, even going way back in history. As an example, Thais recognise about 18 genders in their language: https://soranews24.com/2017/01/27/chart-showing-thailands-18-genders-challenges-the-idea-that-there-is-only-male-and-female/

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Rendel Harris replied to hawkinspeter | 1 year ago
5 likes

hawkinspeter wrote:

nosferatu1001 wrote:

love that pic

given the site this is likely heresy...
https://images.app.goo.gl/ft8756rtBkShzYxi9

Well, that's got a clear cross-bar, so it's a male bike.

As an aside, I did read a while ago about a theory that western society is pre-occupied with dualities largely due to Christianity and it's inherent dualities (Adam/Eve, good/evil, heaven/hell). Other societies have had a less polarised view of genders, even going way back in history. As an example, Thais recognise about 18 genders in their language: https://soranews24.com/2017/01/27/chart-showing-thailands-18-genders-challenges-the-idea-that-there-is-only-male-and-female/

I edited a paper last year about Native Americans and was surprised to find that many tribes accepted the concept that a person could have a female "soul" in a man's body or vice-versa. One Canadian tribe, whose name escapes me for the moment, called them "two spirit people", which I thought was rather lovely. They were often regarded as shamanistic and more in touch with the Earth and their ancestors than others.

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hawkinspeter replied to Rendel Harris | 1 year ago
2 likes

Rendel Harris wrote:

I edited a paper last year about Native Americans and was surprised to find that many tribes accepted the concept that a person could have a female "soul" in a man's body or vice-versa. One Canadian tribe, whose name escapes me for the moment, called them "two spirit people", which I thought was rather lovely. They were often regarded as shamanistic and more in touch with the Earth and their ancestors than others.

Non-binary genders are definitely not a new thing.

https://historyofyesterday.com/the-third-gender-existed-since-the-dawn-of-time-5f9765956ac1

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nosferatu1001 replied to hawkinspeter | 1 year ago
2 likes

hawkinspeter wrote:

Rendel Harris wrote:

I edited a paper last year about Native Americans and was surprised to find that many tribes accepted the concept that a person could have a female "soul" in a man's body or vice-versa. One Canadian tribe, whose name escapes me for the moment, called them "two spirit people", which I thought was rather lovely. They were often regarded as shamanistic and more in touch with the Earth and their ancestors than others.

Non-binary genders are definitely not a new thing.

https://historyofyesterday.com/the-third-gender-existed-since-the-dawn-of-time-5f9765956ac1

many many peoples and tribes had concepts of two spirit  people, or other than a gender binary. With colonisation came an attempt to eradicate these and enforce "Christian" concepts... 

That and deciding that naked is always sexual, for some reason - are two of the many issues we've been left with.  

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Rendel Harris replied to sparrowlegs | 1 year ago
3 likes

sparrowlegs wrote:

I think this thread is done now.  

BC have taken the common sense approach and stopped Emma from competing.

Until the next thread...

In point of fact British Cycling have not stopped her from competing, the UCI have and they have done so because she is still registered with them as a male competitor, it's a paperwork thing which as far as I know does not imply any judgement about whether or not she actually should be permitted to enter per se, just she currently does not have the correct paperwork to do so.

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hawkinspeter replied to Sriracha | 1 year ago
2 likes

Sriracha wrote:

For any who are care, I found this an interesting read. I'm not putting it up here for argument's sake or to prove one point or the other - that would be foolish since I've not read to the end of it yet (it's fairly long, Im a slow reader). But I have found it interesting so far. It's written by a gay man ... https://duncanhenry.substack.com/p/tra-to-gc?s=r&utm_campaign=post&utm_m... PS looks like we've overloaded the comment thread software

I kind of skimmed it to see if I was interested and found it quite off-putting. The "Woman = adult female human" definition seemed somewhat circular to me - how is "female" being defined? There's a problem with using vaguely defined terms such as "female" or "woman" and then using it to exclude certain people as different people will draw lines in different places.

I'm not really on board with excluding certain types of people (e.g. coloured skin, unusual genetics, sexual orientation etc) rather than focussing on the undesirable behaviours, so the bits that I did read just didn't sit well with me.

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sparrowlegs replied to Rendel Harris | 1 year ago
0 likes

So she is still a he until the correct paperwork is filed? Seems logical.

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

I'm not really on board with excluding certain types of people (e.g. coloured skin, unusual genetics, sexual orientation etc)

And I would agree with that sentiment, I think most would. I think the arguments arise over how to reconcile two groups or categories without prejudicing either of their interests.

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nosferatu1001 replied to sparrowlegs | 1 year ago
2 likes

sparrowlegs wrote:

So she is still a he until the correct paperwork is filed? Seems logical.

nope, her paperwork means she can't enter a completion. She is still a she.

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hawkinspeter replied to Sriracha | 1 year ago
3 likes

Sriracha wrote:
hawkinspeter wrote:

I'm not really on board with excluding certain types of people (e.g. coloured skin, unusual genetics, sexual orientation etc)

And I would agree with that sentiment, I think most would. I think the arguments arise over how to reconcile two groups or categories without prejudicing either of their interests.

The real difficulty is we can't even define the groups sufficiently.

Going back to sport, there's really an insurmountable problem that some/most women don't want to compete against testosterone enhanced people and trans people want to compete in what they feel should be their category. Ultimately sport is all about natural advantages, so I don't think there can be a "fair" outcome.

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Mark_1973_ replied to nosferatu1001 | 1 year ago
0 likes

nosferatu1001 wrote:

sparrowlegs wrote:

So she is still a he until the correct paperwork is filed? Seems logical.

nope, her paperwork means she can't enter a completion. She is still a she.

Unless, perhaps, she decides to become a he again, in which case we'll all change the English language to suit (well, I won't, but you get my drift).

Avatar
nosferatu1001 replied to hawkinspeter | 1 year ago
2 likes

hawkinspeter wrote:

Sriracha wrote:
hawkinspeter wrote:

I'm not really on board with excluding certain types of people (e.g. coloured skin, unusual genetics, sexual orientation etc)

And I would agree with that sentiment, I think most would. I think the arguments arise over how to reconcile two groups or categories without prejudicing either of their interests.

The real difficulty is we can't even define the groups sufficiently.

Going back to sport, there's really an insurmountable problem that some/most women don't want to compete against testosterone enhanced people and trans people want to compete in what they feel should be their category. Ultimately sport is all about natural advantages, so I don't think there can be a "fair" outcome.

it's why I was asking people to define "fair" in a field where genetic outliers are the norm (at the level we're discussing here) 

Younhave categories based on, in almost all cases, a historic split dating back to when women were not allowed to compete. And it was a split that worked well-enough for the purposes then. It's a really crude split, of cours, and as our collective understanding has grown (or in most cases, rediscovered after research was destroyed) for a lot of people there is the realisation that these crude splits don't work terribly well.  
 

so you either find a way to allow humans to be treated as human while maintaining e solit, or you find a way to more accurately define your categories of ability. 

To decide some people are not equal and cannot compete as themselves  is abhorrent as a viewpoint. 

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nosferatu1001 replied to Mark_1973_ | 1 year ago
2 likes

Mark_1973_ wrote:

nosferatu1001 wrote:

sparrowlegs wrote:

So she is still a he until the correct paperwork is filed? Seems logical.

nope, her paperwork means she can't enter a completion. She is still a she.

Unless, perhaps, she decides to become a he again, in which case we'll all change the English language to suit (well, I won't, but you get my drift).

and if she does do that, that's her choice.  Gender isn't binary. Gender isn't necessarily fixed. That you're a dinosaur unable to cope with the modern world isn't my problem.  

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Mark_1973_ replied to nosferatu1001 | 1 year ago
1 like
nosferatu1001 wrote:

Mark_1973_ wrote:

nosferatu1001 wrote:

sparrowlegs wrote:

So she is still a he until the correct paperwork is filed? Seems logical.

nope, her paperwork means she can't enter a completion. She is still a she.

Unless, perhaps, she decides to become a he again, in which case we'll all change the English language to suit (well, I won't, but you get my drift).

and if she does do that, that's her choice.  Gender isn't binary. Gender isn't necessarily fixed. That you're a dinosaur unable to cope with the modern world isn't my problem.  

Keep it coming. You sound more ridiculous with every post.

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nosferatu1001 replied to Mark_1973_ | 1 year ago
1 like

Mark_1973_ wrote:
nosferatu1001 wrote:

Mark_1973_ wrote:

nosferatu1001 wrote:

sparrowlegs wrote:

So she is still a he until the correct paperwork is filed? Seems logical.

nope, her paperwork means she can't enter a completion. She is still a she.

Unless, perhaps, she decides to become a he again, in which case we'll all change the English language to suit (well, I won't, but you get my drift).

and if she does do that, that's her choice.  Gender isn't binary. Gender isn't necessarily fixed. That you're a dinosaur unable to cope with the modern world isn't my problem.  

Keep it coming. You sound more ridiculous with every post.

Sure, I'm sorry that your world view is so narrow and fixed.  It's so limiting. 

Avatar
nosferatu1001 replied to hawkinspeter | 1 year ago
2 likes

hawkinspeter wrote:

Sriracha wrote:

For any who are care, I found this an interesting read. I'm not putting it up here for argument's sake or to prove one point or the other - that would be foolish since I've not read to the end of it yet (it's fairly long, Im a slow reader). But I have found it interesting so far. It's written by a gay man ... https://duncanhenry.substack.com/p/tra-to-gc?s=r&utm_campaign=post&utm_m... PS looks like we've overloaded the comment thread software

I kind of skimmed it to see if I was interested and found it quite off-putting. The "Woman = adult female human" definition seemed somewhat circular to me - how is "female" being defined? There's a problem with using vaguely defined terms such as "female" or "woman" and then using it to exclude certain people as different people will draw lines in different places.

I'm not really on board with excluding certain types of people (e.g. coloured skin, unusual genetics, sexual orientation etc) rather than focussing on the undesirable behaviours, so the bits that I did read just didn't sit well with me.

That was the key failing of it as an article - it made a number of assertions-as-fact and never proved them 
much like the posters here who make claims about "biological female" but cannot back that up with anything other than basic biology taught to 13 year olds as a useful lies-to-children (Terry Pratchett we miss you, that phrase is so perfect) 

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Secret_squirrel replied to sparrowlegs | 1 year ago
1 like

sparrowlegs wrote:

 

BC have taken the common sense approach and stopped Emma from competing.

The UCI not BC.

Avatar
chrisonatrike | 1 year ago
2 likes

I'm so pleased that people can discuss things openly on this site.  (I'm just taking to a moment to appreciate that this is not a universal however much we may be used to it.  Also appreciating the only way the world changes is when people engage with others - or when they leave).  Again I've learned something.  I wonder if we've got the best out of this now though?

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