British Cycling bans transgender women from competing in elite women’s races
Transgender women are banned from participating in elite cycle races in the UK under a new guideline published by the sport’s governing body on Friday.
Under a new entry policy for transgender and non-binary people, due to be introduced sometime this year, UK cycle races will be split into ‘open’ and ‘female’ categories.
The current men’s category is grouped into the “open” category, which is also available to transgender women, transgender men and non-binary cyclists.
The female category remains for those who were gender assigned female at birth and for transgender men who have not yet started hormone therapy.
The policy is based on a nine-month review by British Cycling, which included consultation with riders and stakeholders and a study of available medical research led by Dr. British Cycling Chief Medical Officer Nigel Jones included.
The research concluded that riders who went through puberty as males have a clear performance advantage that cannot be fully mitigated by testosterone suppression.
British Cycling has not yet confirmed exactly when the new policy will come into effect. The organization said it will start before the end of the year as it is discussing the rule with the Union Cycliste Internationale [UCI] – the governing body of the cycling world – which has a different policy.
Currently, the UCI allows transgender women who have gone through male puberty to compete in elite women’s competitions if their testosterone levels have been reduced by 2.5 nanomoles per liter in the past two years.
The UCI is reportedly reviewing its regulations after transgender rider Austin Killups won the women’s race at the Tour of the Gila in New Mexico earlier this month.
Last April, British Cycling suspended its previous entry rules after transgender woman Emily Bridges attempted to compete as a rider in the national omnium championships.
Bridges called the move a “violent act.”
“I agree that there needs to be differentiated policy discussion and continued research, but that hasn’t happened,” she told the Associated Press.
British Cycling chief executive Jon Dutton apologized for the concerns that had arisen during the 13-month limbo since the previous policy was suspended.
The previous transgender policy required riders competing in women’s competitions to demonstrate that their testosterone levels were below five nanomoles per liter for 12 months prior to an event.
“It’s an incredibly emotional and sometimes controversial subject,” said Dutton, who has been chair of the governing body for just a month.
“It has taken us many months to address three areas: first, a consultation with the athletes concerned and the wider cycling community; second, take a look at the currently available medical research; and thirdly from a legal point of view in connection with the Gender Equality Act.
“We made a decision to weigh all three points to provide clarity, provide direction, and give all affected athletes a clear path forward.”
With mail wires