British Cycling implements policy banning transgender women from competitive women’s events

British Cycling has announced a policy change that will prohibit transgender women from participating in competitive women's events, while the men's category will become an open category.

This decision has dashed the hopes of transgender cyclist Emily Bridges, who was previously barred from competing in a women's event due to her male cyclist registration.

The new policy, which will come into effect by the end of the year, only applies to British Cycling events. The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), the global governing body for cycling, has yet to announce its own transgender eligibility position.

British Cycling apologized for the uncertainty and upset caused by the suspension of their transgender and non-binary participation policy in April 2022. The suspension was implemented to conduct research and consultation.

In response to questions regarding the policy's discriminatory nature, British Cycling chief Jon Dutton stated, “We have taken a view that this is absolutely about being inclusive for all. We've created a new open category that anyone has the ability to ride in and also a non-competitive policy that is absolutely inclusive and accessible.”

He emphasized that discrimination will not be tolerated and expressed support and empathy for the affected riders.

Under the new policy, the female category will be for riders assigned female at birth and transgender men who have not started hormone therapy.

Emily Bridges, who came out as a transgender woman in 2020 and underwent hormone therapy, criticized British Cycling for the ban, accusing the organization of not caring about diversity in sport.

British Cycling's decision aims to provide clarity on the direction of their policy, although athletes like Emily will be affected. The organization asserts that the decision was made on behalf of the entire cycling community.

British Cycling's move follows the example set by British Triathlon, which introduced plans for an “open category” encompassing men, transgender women, and non-binary athletes.

International athletics and swimming governing bodies have previously banned athletes who experienced male puberty from competing in international women's events.

The global governing body for cycling, the UCI, is currently reviewing its rules in light of recent controversies, such as transgender woman Austin Killips winning a women's race in New Mexico last month. The discussions surrounding this topic have been complex and emotive, acknowledging the impact on individuals involved in the sport.

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