'This is a violent act': Cyclist Emily Bridges threatens to leave UK after trans women banned from female events

26 May 2023, 11:08 | Updated: 26 May 2023, 15:17

The ban will come in later this year
The ban will come in later this year. Picture: Getty/Alamy
Kieran Kelly

By Kieran Kelly

Transgender cyclist Emily Bridges has threatened to leave the UK after British Cycling announced plans to prevent trans women from racing in elite female events.

The governing body's new rules for competitive events, which will be implemented later this year, will see racing split into "open" and "female" categories.

Trans women, trans men, non-binary individuals and those whose sex was assigned male at birth eligible to compete in the open category.

The female category will remain for those whose sex was assigned female at birth, and transgender men who are yet to begin hormone therapy.

Reacting to the news, Ms Bridges said: "British Cycling is a failed organisation, the racing scene is dying under your watch and all you do is take money from petrochemical companies and engage in culture wars."

She continued: "This is a violent act. When the government is expressing admiration towards Ron Desantis' fascist state which kidnaps children, and is itching to pass legislation to ban us from public life, this is a violent act. 

"British Cycling are supporting this, they are furthering a genocide against us. Bans from sport is how it starts, look at what is going on in America."

Emily Bridges
Emily Bridges. Picture: Getty

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The current men's category will be consolidated into the open category, in which those whose sex was assigned as female at birth can also compete if they so wish.

British Cycling suspended its previous policy last April amid controversy after transgender woman Emily Bridges sought to race at the national omnium championships as a female rider.

The governing body's new chief executive Jon Dutton, who has been in post for one month, said he was "sorry" for the anxiety and upset caused during the 13 months since.

"It's an incredibly emotive and at times divisive subject area," Dutton said.

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"We have taken many months to look at three areas: firstly a consultation with the athletes affected and the wider cycling community.

"Secondly looking at the medical research available at this point in time; and thirdly from the legal viewpoint in terms of the association with the Equalities Act.

"We've made a decision on the balance of all three to give clarity, to give direction and that clear way forward for any athletes affected."