Emily Bridges ‘dumped over email’ as British Cycling suspends transgender policy

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Emily Bridges’ mother says her daughter was “dumped over email” after British Cycling suspended its transgender participation policy.

Bridges, who came out as transgender in 2020, had been cleared to compete in women’s events by the national governing body after demonstrating that her testosterone levels had been reduced to required limits.

She was due to compete in last weekend’s national omnium championships in Derby until the sport’s world governing body, the UCI, blocked her participation as it had not yet deemed her eligible to compete in international competitions .

Female athletes in Natal had considered boycotting the championships if Bridges had been allowed to compete, and British Cycling’s Olympic programs manager Sara Symington co-signed a letter to the UCI earlier this week criticizing its current policy on the inclusion of transgender people. Signatories to the letter claimed that current UCI rules do not guarantee female athletes fair and meaningful competition.

British Cycling confirmed on Friday that its policy – ​​which was only ratified in January – was now on hold pending a review.

Bridges’ mother Sandy Sullivan tweeted the statement from British Cycling and added: ‘Dumped by email. We just received it in our inbox. We will make a statement at some point within the next 24 hours.

The governing body said on Friday: “While the current policy was created following extensive external and internal consultation, the review will allow us time to continue discussions with all stakeholders, including women. and transgender and non-binary communities, as we strive to provide everyone in our sport with the clarity and understanding they deserve.

“As an organization, we remain committed to ensuring that transgender and non-binary people are welcomed, supported and celebrated in the cycling community, and the inclusion of these groups in non-competitive activities remains unaffected by the suspension.

“We will also continue to work tirelessly to ensure that our sport remains free from hate, discrimination and abuse in all their forms, and that we prioritize the well-being of riders, volunteers, event organisers, stewards and others without which our sport cannot continue. .

“Over the past week, we have begun our work in earnest to galvanize a coalition of organizations to come together to find a better response, and have had productive discussions with national governing bodies and other sport stakeholders.

“The challenge is far bigger than any event or sport, and only by working together can we hope to find a quick solution that achieves fairness in a way that preserves dignity and respect. of all athletes.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson entered the debate this week when he said biological men should be barred from women-only sporting events.

British Cycling’s statement noted concerns about the extent to which its policy appropriately reflected the Group’s guidelines for equality in sporting advice, published in September 2021.

Among a number of conclusions made by the group was a proposal that sports which could not guarantee physical ‘fairness’, such as contact or combat sports, could introduce an ‘open’ category in plus male and female categories.

British Cycling has acknowledged that differences between its policy and that of the UCI allow trans athletes to race nationally even if their cases are pending with the UCI, or even if the UCI has deemed them ineligible for the competition.

“This allows these riders to accrue National Ranking Points which impact selection decisions for National Championship races, which is not only unprecedented in our sport, but is also unfair to all riders and poses a challenge to the integrity of the race,” the statement added.

“I think it’s a complex subject. I think Emily showed incredible courage. I think she showed incredible resilience and tremendous determination,” she said.

“But it’s not just about Emily. Of course we want to make sure she has the right support – we talk to British Cycling regularly about the support she receives – but not just her.

“You have to remember that it’s much bigger than one person.

“We have to have these conversations with respect because humans, human feelings and human experiences are at the center of it all. I think it behooves each of us to discuss this subject to do so with sensitivity.

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