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British Cycling halts transgender participation policy

British Cycling has suspended its transgender and non-binary participation policy after Emily Bridges’ failed attempt to enter a women’s event at the British National Omnium Championships.

Bridges, who came out as transgender in 2020, was allowed to compete in women’s events after demonstrating that her testosterone levels had been reduced to the required limits.

She had been due to feature in last weekend’s National Omnium Championships until the sport’s world governing body, the UCI, blocked her participation because it has not yet deemed her eligible to race in international competitions.

Female athletes had considered boycotting the Championships if Bridges was able to compete.

British Cycling’s head of Olympic programmes Sara Symington co-signed a letter to the UCI earlier this week criticising its current policy on transgender inclusion. 

The letter signatories claimed the UCI’s current rules do not guarantee female athletes fair and meaningful competition.

And British Cycling confirmed on Friday that its policy, which was only ratified in January, was now suspended pending a review.

“While the current policy was created following an extensive external and internal consultation, the review will allow us time for further discussion with all stakeholders, including women and the transgender and non-binary communities, as we strive to provide all within our sport with the clarity and understanding they deserve,” a British Cycling statement said.

“As an organisation we remain committed to ensuring that transgender and non-binary people are welcomed, supported and celebrated in the cycling community, and the inclusion of these groups within non-competitive activities remains unaffected by the suspension.”

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson entered the debate this week when he said that biological males should be barred from female-only sporting events.

Responding to the British Cycling decision, Bridges’ mother Sandy Sullivan tweeted: “Dumped by email. We’ve just received this in our inbox. We will be making a statement at some point during the next 24 hrs.”

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