British Cycling bans male-born transgender cyclists from competing in elite women’s races

Male-born cyclists who identify as female will no longer be able to compete in elite women’s races sponsored by British Cycling, the latest sporting authority to opt for fairness over inclusion amid an influx of athletes in women’s sports.

British Cycling published an updated policy for competitive activities on Friday which creates two categories: the women’s category, which is reserved for women and women who identify as men but have not started hormone therapy, and a category open to everyone, including men.

“This means that the current men’s category will be consolidated into the open category,” British Cycling said in a statement on Friday. “Transgender women, transgender men, non-binary people and those whose gender was assigned male at birth will be eligible to compete in the open category.”

Women can also compete in the open category if they wish. Male-born athletes are allowed in non-competitive races and community activities such as the Breeze program to encourage women’s cycling.

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

The policy changes, which are expected to be implemented by the end of the year, come after a nine-month review that included focus groups, interviews and reviews of the scientific, medical and legal landscape.

In April 2022, the organization suspended its transgender participation rule after deeming Emily Bridges ineligible, a male-born competitive cyclist who transitioned to female and sought to compete in a women’s national championship.

Ms Bridges blasted British Cycling after the policy was published, saying in a lengthy social media post that the organization’s leaders are ‘promoting genocide against us’ and called the updates a ‘violent act’.

“British Cycling is a failed organisation; the racing scene is dying on your watch,’ Ms Bridges said, adding: ‘You have no right to tell me when I’m done.

Critics have accused Ms Bridges of hyperbole, pointing out that transgender women are still allowed to race in the open category.

“But claiming victimhood is a core tactic of the gender cult, which depends on hyperbole to obscure the fact that its purpose is to allow a group of empowered men to do whatever they want, including destroying women’s sport,” Joan Smith said in an op-ed in UnHerd.

Meanwhile, Fair Play for Women’s Sports called the policy “a major breakthrough for competitive cycling at all levels… but not perfect”.

“Men who identify as trans or non-binary will still be allowed to participate in women-only workouts and women-only recreational rides (Breeze rides),” the group tweeted.

The International Cycling Union said this month it would review its transgender policies amid concerns over the growing number of born-male athletes in women’s events.

The review was announced after Austin Killips became the first transgender female cyclist to win a UCI stage race at the Tour de la Gila in New Mexico, stoking pushback from other competitors who called Killips’ participation a ‘unfair.

UK group Sex Matters applauded British Cycling for its “commitment to female athletes”, saying the policy “protects the core sporting value of fairness for competitive women’s cycling”.

“But the global picture is still bleak,” the band said. “Internationally, UCI policy allows trans-identified men to compete in women’s categories under testosterone-suppressing conditions, allowing novice men like Austin Killips in the United States to claim victory in UCI women’s events and forcing female cyclists like Hannah Arensman to abandon their beloved. sport.”

British Cycling has made it clear that in UCI-sponsored races in the UK, “UCI’s eligibility policy will prevail”.

More than 50 transgender women have participated in women’s cycling races in recent years, with some winning high-level competitions, according to a tally cited by the Independent Council on Women’s Sports, which opposes participation of transgender people in women’s sports.

Last year, World Aquatics, or FINA, effectively banned transgender swimmers from elite women’s competitions while saying it would add an open category. Those who undergo medical gender transitions before the age of 12 would still be eligible to compete.

In March, World Athletics announced that it would exclude athletes born male who have gone through puberty from women’s athletics events.


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