Transgender women are now banned from competing in elite female cycling events in the UK after the sport’s national governing body said Friday it was reworking its current policy.
British Cycling revealed it was immediately suspending its Transgender and Non-binary Participation Policy due to differences between its code and that of the international cycling body, UCI.
“It is currently possible for trans-female athletes to gain eligibility to race domestically while their cases remain pending with the UCI (or indeed in situations where they are deemed ineligible),” British Cycling said in a statement.
“[This allows riders to] accrue domestic ranking points which impact selection decisions for National Championship races, which is not only unprecedented … but is also unfair on all women riders and poses a challenge to the integrity of racing.”
The now-axed British regulations had required riders competing in women’s events to show their testosterone levels were below a certain benchmark for 12 months prior to an event.
The move to suspend the policy came after transgender cyclist Emily Bridges, 21, said she had provided British Cycling and UCI with the required evidence she was eligible to compete in an upcoming UK event — but had been excluded anyway.
British Cycling said on Wednesday they had been informed by the UCI that she wouldn’t be eligible to participate under their current guidelines because she was still registered as a male athlete for international competitions.
Bridges began hormone therapy last year to reduce her testosterone levels after having previously set a national junior men’s record over 25 miles in 2018.
The suspension of British Cycling’s comes just days after Prime Minister Boris Johnson weighed in, saying publicly that he didn’t believe transgender women should compete in female sporting events — a view he acknowledged would be “controversial.”
British Cycling said a review of its policy would take place within weeks and that it will include women and members of the transgender and non-binary communities.