Sport

Trans cyclist Emily Bridges says she was unfairly blocked from major championship

Lily Wakefield April 2, 2022
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Cyclist Emily Bridges wears a trans flag around her shoulders as she sits behind a bicycle

Emily Bridges. (ITV News)

Trans cyclist Emily Bridges has spoken out after being blocked from competing in the British National Omnium Championships, insisted she met all eligibility criteria.

The race would have been the first time Bridges, who came out publicly as trans in October 2020, was able to compete in a female category under British Cycling’s policy, which stipulates that trans cyclists must meet a certain testosterone level for at least 12 months ahead of competition. 

But on Wednesday (30 March), just three days before the race on 2 April, British Cycling released a statement announcing that the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) – the sport’s world governing body – had ruled that she could not compete “under their current guidelines”, giving no further information.

On Friday (1 April), Bridges released a statement addressing the vague announcement.

She said: “For the last six months, I have been in contact with British Cycling and the UCI over the eligibility criteria I would need to meet as a transgender woman in order to race in the female category at the British National Omnium Championships… In that time, I have provided both British Cycling and UCI with medical evidence that I meet the eligibility criteria for transgender female cyclists, including that my testosterone level has been far below the limit prescribed by the regulations for the last 12 months.”

Despite providing evidence, Bridges learned from British Cycling’s public announcement that she had been blocked from competing.

“I still have little clarity around their finding of my ineligibility under their regulations,” she said. 

“I am an athlete, and I just want to race competitively again, within the regulations set by British Cycling and UCI after careful consideration of the research around transgender athletes.

“No one should have to choose between being who they are, and participating in the sport that they love.”

Bridges said she is in contact with British Cycling and UCI, and added: “I hope that they will reconsider their decision in line with the regulations.”

Emily Bridges spoke out against the media’s brutal treatment of trans athletes

In her statement, Emily Bridges also spoke about the relentless attacks she has faced in the British media, saying she has “been relentlessly harassed and demonised by those who have a specific agenda to push”.

“They attack anything that isn’t the norm and print whatever is most likely to result in the highest engagement for their articles, and bring in advertising,” she said.

“This is without care for the wellbeing of individuals or marginalised groups, and others are left to pick up the pieces due to their actions.”

She described having journalists on her doorstep “every day”, said her “privacy has been totally violated” and explained that she has had to lock down her social media to hold back the “targeted abuse”.

“This is despite the fact I have not yet raced in the female category,” she added.

“I have been judged despite a total lack of evidence against me, purely because I am trans.”

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