New policy announced after nine-month review which included medical and legal advice
Transgender women will be permanently banned from taking part in all-female competitive events, British Cycling has announced.
The decision followed a nine-month consultation and a review of the latest science, a statement from the governing body said on Friday.
Under the new rules—which end transgender cyclist Emily Bridges’ chances of competing for Britain in the female category—the men’s division will be replaced by an “open category.”
It will include transgender men, transgender women and non-binary individuals.
The “female category” will be preserved for those whose birth sex is female, from elite to grassroots, it said.
Bridges, who came out as a transgender woman in October 2020, described the new rules as a “violent act”.
In a statement posted to Instagram, the cyclist wrote: “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. You don’t care about making sport more diverse, you want to make yourself look better and you’re even failing at that.
“Cycling is still one of the whitest, straightest sports out there, and you couldn’t care less.”
Bridges has been at the centre of the debate after British Cycling suspended its previous policy in 2022 amid the controversy sparked after seeking to race in the female category at last year’s national omnium championships.
Announcing the ban, British Cycling’s chief executive officer Jon Dutton said the decision was taken to “safeguard” the fairness of competitions.
“We understand that this will be particularly difficult for many of our trans and non-binary riders, and our commitment to them today is twofold,” he said in a statement on Friday.
“First, we will continue to assess our policy annually and more frequently as the medical science develops, and will continue to invite those impacted to be an integral part of those conversations.
“Second, we will also continue to ensure that our non-competitive activities provide a positive and welcoming environment, where everyone can feel like they belong and are respected in our community, and take action to eradicate discrimination from the sport.”
Dutton said he was “confident” that the body has developed policies that safeguard the fairness of competitions, whilst ensuring all riders have opportunities to participate.
He added: “We have always been very clear that this is a challenge far greater than one sport. We remain committed to listening to our communities and working with our fellow sporting bodies to monitor changes in the scientific and policy landscape, to ensure that sport is inclusive for all.”
The review has led to the creation of two new policies—endorsed by its board in April—which will be implemented in full by the end of the year, the organisation said.
The first, “Policy for Competitive Activity,” relates to all British Cycling-sanctioned competitive events.
The second, “Policy for Non-Competitive Activity” is said to build on “the long-term commitment” to inclusion.
British Cycling said it stood “steadfast” behind its “zero-tolerance approach” to harassment, bullying and discrimination, and would not hesitate to take action on any breaches of its code of conduct.
The governing body said the policies were based on a consultation with riders and stakeholders, medical research conducted by chief medical officer Dr Nigel Jones, and legal advice.
Bridges said that the body has “no right in telling me when I’m done” but added that she was now considering her future in the sport.
The cyclist, previously part of the Great Britain academy with plans to compete at the Paris Olympics, said, “I don’t even know if I want to race my bike any more, the danger and everything that would come with racing makes it a pretty hard thing to justify to myself.”