British Cycling bans transgender women from competing in women’s category | Bike

British Cycling has become the latest governing body to ban transgender women from competing in the women’s category to ‘safeguard the fairness’ of the sport. The decision, which ends transgender cyclist Emily Bridges’ dreams of competing for Great Britain in the women’s category, follows a nine-month consultation and review of the latest scientific findings.

Under the new rules, the men’s division will be replaced with an “open category” – which will now also include transgender men, transgender women and non-binary people. Meanwhile, the ‘female category’ for any form of competition, from elite to grassroots football, will be preserved for those whose birth sex is female.

The new policy, which broadly follows that of UK Athletics and Swim England, will also apply to all British Cycling-sanctioned competitive events involving times, placings, points or prize money, as well as selection decisions for the Great Britain cycling team.

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The news is expected to be widely welcomed by the country’s top riders, many of whom have threatened to boycott last year’s British national championships until Bridges is declared ineligible by cycling’s governing body the UCI. compete in the female category while she was still registered as a male cyclist at the time.

This boycott threat arose as many believed Bridges, 22, who participated in the Great Britain Academy program as a men’s runner until it dropped out in 2020, retained an unfair advantage after the transition.

Their view is now shared by British Cycling. In a statement explaining his policy change, he cited research studies indicating that even with testosterone suppression, transgender women who transition after puberty retain a performance advantage.

However, he also promised that trans and non-binary people would continue to be able to participate in a wide range of activities under his new policy – including club and coach-led activities, community programs and events. non-competitive such as sports.

British Cycling CEO Jon Dutton said: “I am confident that we have developed policies which both safeguard the fairness of cycling competition, whilst ensuring that all riders have the opportunity to participate.”

The governing body also apologized to transgender athletes for taking so long to come up with a new policy after suspending the previous one last year, leaving runners, including Bridges, in limbo. “We recognize the impact the suspension of our policy has had on trans and non-binary people, and we are sorry for the uncertainty and upheaval that many have felt during this time,” he added.

“Our goal in creating our policies has always been to advance and promote equality, diversity and inclusion, while prioritizing fair competition. That goal has not changed.

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British Cycling’s new policy was announced weeks after the sport’s controversial transgender debate last flared up, when Austin Killips became the first transgender athlete to win a UCI women’s stage race.

Killips’ victory led the UCI to admit it had heard the ‘concerns’ of female athletes about unfair competition in sport and would reconsider its transgender policy. Among the UCI’s critics was three-time Olympian Inga Thompson who accused it of “killing women’s cycling”.

The UCI is expected to announce any changes to its policy in August. As it stands, however, transgender women are still eligible to compete in UCI international events provided they reduce their testosterone to 2.5 nmol/l for 24 months.

This means that when it comes to UCI organized events hosted in Great Britain, such as the Track Nations Cup or the Women’s Tour, the current UCI transgender eligibility policy will prevail. .

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