Transgender women will no longer be allowed to participate in competitive women’s events organized by British Cycling, as the organization introduces changes that will transform the men’s category into an open one.This policy change comes as a disappointment for transgender cyclist Emily Bridges, whose aspirations of competing in women’s competitions have been dashed. Bridges, now 22 years old, was barred from her first women’s event in Derby 14 months ago, where she was supposed to face the renowned five-time Olympic champion Dame Laura Kenny. The ruling by cycling’s world governing body stated that Bridges, still registered as a male cyclist at the time, was ineligible to compete.It’s important to note that this newly announced policy will only apply to British Cycling events, as the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), the global governing body for cycling, has yet to release its own transgender eligibility guidelines.

British Cycling expressed regret for the “uncertainty and upset” caused by the suspension of their transgender and non-binary participation policy in April 2022. This suspension was intended to facilitate research and consultation.

When questioned about whether the new policy could be seen as discriminatory, Jon Dutton, Chief Executive of British Cycling, emphasized the organization’s commitment to inclusivity. Dutton stated that an open category has been created to allow anyone to participate, alongside a non-competitive policy that aims to be inclusive and accessible. He emphasized British Cycling’s intolerance of any form of discrimination and expressed the importance of supporting and showing empathy to those affected by the policy change.

Under the new guidelines, the female category will be limited to riders who were assigned female at birth, as well as transgender men who have not yet undergone hormone therapy.

Bridges, who previously set a national junior men’s record, publicly revealed her identity as a transgender woman in October 2020. She began hormone therapy in 2022 to reduce her testosterone levels. In response to the British Cycling announcement, Bridges criticized the organization for its ban, suggesting that it lacked a genuine commitment to diversifying the sport. She urged for a nuanced policy discussion and further research to inform decisions, highlighting the need for critical analysis of the data’s relevance to specific sports.

Dutton acknowledged that Bridges and other athletes are directly affected by the policy but emphasized that British Cycling aimed to provide clarity on their direction. He stated that the decision was made in consideration of the entire cycling community.

British Cycling’s move aligns with British Triathlon’s decision last year to introduce an “open category” for men, transgender women, and non-binary athletes. In international athletics and swimming, governing bodies have implemented regulations prohibiting individuals who experienced male puberty from competing in women’s events.

Dutton acknowledged the complexities and sensitivities surrounding the issue, acknowledging the impact on individuals and the divisive nature of the discussions. British Cycling recognizes the challenging nature of this process.

The global governing body for cycling is currently reviewing its rules following the controversy sparked by Austin Killips, a transgender woman who won a women’s race during the Tour of the Gila stage race in New Mexico last month.


Q1:What is the British Cycling?
British Cycling is the national governing body for the sport of cycling in Britain.

Q2:Who is the CEO of British Cycling?
Jon Dutton

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