British Cycling bans trans participation in the woman’s division – creates open category

In a recent development, British Cycling has announced the implementation of a new participation policy, leading to a ban on transgender women from competing in the female category of its competitions.

Following a nine-month review and consultation, the governing body aims to ensure fairness in its events. As per the updated policy, transgender women athletes will now compete in an ‘open category’ alongside men, while female races will be exclusively for individuals assigned female at birth.

The policy change has raised concerns about the inclusion of riders like Emily Bridges, a prominent transgender cyclist in the UK. Bridges, who faced obstacles in participating in elite women’s races in the past due to regulations set by the UCI (cycling’s world federation), expressed disappointment and described the policy shift as a “violent act” by a “failed organization.”

She criticized British Cycling for exerting control over the conversation on transgender inclusion and accused them of engaging in “culture wars” while neglecting the needs of the racing community.

Previously, British Cycling’s regulations allowed transgender women to compete in elite female events if they met specific testosterone-based criteria. However, ongoing debates on the balance between inclusion and fairness prompted the governing body to suspend its regulations and initiate a review process.

British Cycling cited research studies indicating that transgender women who transition post-puberty, even with testosterone suppression, may retain a performance advantage. The governing body aims to prioritize fairness of competition while promoting equality, diversity, and inclusion.

Transgender women will still be able to participate in non-competitive recreational and community cycling without any restrictions.

These changes are set to be implemented by the end of the year, marking a significant shift in British Cycling’s approach to transgender inclusion in competitive events.

Emily Bridges’ response to the policy change highlighted the discontent and frustration felt by transgender athletes.

“Research isn’t being viewed critically, or any discussion about the relevance of the data to specific sports.”

“I’ve given my body up to science for the last two years, and this data will be out soon.”

“There is actual, relevant data coming soon and discussions need to be had.”


British Cycling refrained from commenting on Bridges’ statement, focusing instead on their commitment to developing policies that safeguard fair competition while providing opportunities for all riders to participate.