British Cycling to ban transgender women from its women-only events, creates ‘open’ category
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Transgender women will not be allowed to compete in women’s-only races sanctioned by British Cycling, and not by the UCI, after the organization unveiled updates to its policies.
British Cycling announced Friday that it will launch an “open category” alongside a women’s category for its competitive events after completing a review of its policies on transgender participation.
The national governing body suspended its existing policy on transgender participation in April 2022 and subsequently launched a full review into it. The suspension of the policy happened when transgender athlete Emily Bridges sought to compete in a women’s event last year.
Previously transgender women were allowed to compete in women-only events, provided they reduced their testosterone levels below 5 nmol/L for at least a year — something that Bridges had done.
However, the new policy will mean that transgender women will now not be permitted to compete in women’s events. Instead, British Cycling has unveiled a new “open” category that will replace the existing “men’s” category.
Under the changes, anybody can compete in the open category, including those that are eligible for the women’s category. Both transgender men and women will only be allowed to compete in this category.
These changes only impact races that are not under the purview of the UCI, which includes the Women’s Tour, the Tour of Britain, and the RideLondon Classique.
Currently, the UCI allows transgender women to compete in women’s only events, and transgender racer Austin Killips recently won the Tour of the Gila. Following her victory, the UCI launched a review of its own policy, though it has not suspended its existing one during the review.
In its non-competitive events, such as the women’s only Breeze program, British Cycling will allow transgender and non-binary people to take part.
“Our new policies are the product of a robust nine-month review process which we know will have a very real-world impact for our community both now and in the future. 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,” British Cycling CEO Jon Dutton said.
“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.
“I am confident that we have developed policies that both safeguard the fairness of cyclesport competition, whilst ensuring all riders have opportunities to participate. 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. We have been open and transparent with the UCI on our decision and will work collaboratively with them to ensure a seamless implementation over the coming months.”