The UCI (International Cycling Union) has banned 21-year-old transgender cyclist Emily Bridges from participating in the UK National Championships, which takes place this weekend.
The British Cycling Federation had already released the young woman’s participation after she proved that testosterone levels were reduced to the required level. Bridges, who was a junior national champion among men, began hormone therapy last year in what will be her first women’s competition.
However, the international body vetoed the cyclist’s participation on the grounds that she was not in compliance with the rules as she was still registered as a male cyclist and therefore could not compete among women. British media raise the point that the international body fears boycotts by other participants.
“Under British Cycling’s transgender and non-binary participation policy, Emily Bridges must participate in the Great Britain National Omnium Championships,” the British Cycling Federation said in a statement.
“We have been informed by the UCI that under their current guidelines, Emily is not eligible to participate in this event. We accept the UCI’s decision regarding Emily’s participation, but fully acknowledge her disappointment. We do.”
The national federation said it would continue to work with the UCI on the Bridge case regarding trans athletes more broadly and called for a “coalition” to address transgender and non-binary participation in elite sports.
“Involving transgender and non-binary people is bigger than a race and an athlete – it is a challenge for all elite sports. We believe our sport is more about getting all participants to participate in specific competitions.” There is a need for clarity and understanding and we will continue to work with the UCI on Emily’s case and with the wider position regarding this issue.”
“We also understand that the concept of justice is essential in elite sport. For this reason, British Cycling is today calling for an alliance to share, learn and understand how we can achieve justice in a way that maintains dignity and respect. All athletes.”
Both the UCI and British Cycling require cyclists to have a testosterone level below 5 nmol/L for a period of 12 months.