Trans women will no longer be allowed to compete with cis women in elite-level cycling. British Cycling announced on Friday that transgender women will not be allowed to compete in competitive women’s events, while the men’s category will become an open one.
It said the female category will be for those riders whose sex was assigned female at birth and transgender men yet to begin hormone therapy.
Some believe there is an ever-increasing rise in transphobia. The increase in sports can be attributed to a combination of factors. One factor is the lack of understanding and awareness about transgender individuals and their experiences. This can lead to fear, prejudice, and discrimination against transgender athletes.
Another factor is the perception that allowing transgender individuals to participate in sports according to their gender identity may give them an unfair advantage. This belief is often based on stereotypes and misconceptions about transgender individuals and their bodies.
Underlying societal biases may also contribute to transphobia in sports. These biases can include a belief in the gender binary, a lack of acceptance of gender diversity, and resistance to change and progress.
British trans cyclist Emily Bridges has been at the centre of the debate for her attempts to race in 2022 after previously competing as a male at the junior level. Bridges, who set a national junior men’s record over 25 miles in 2018, came out as a transgender woman in October 2020 and began hormone therapy last year to reduce her testosterone levels.
She posted a statement on Instagram following the British Cycling announcement, hitting out at the organisation for the ban, saying it doesn’t care “about making the sport more diverse”.
Addressing British Cycling directly, she added: “Cycling is still one of the whitest, straightest sports out there, and you couldn’t care less.”
She added: “I agree that there needs to be a nuanced policy discussion and continue to conduct research, but this hasn’t happened. Research isn’t being viewed critically, or any discussion about the relevance of the data to specific sports.”
So with instances like this occurring more frequently, it seems it’s never been more important to educate ourselves and others about transgender individuals and their experiences, challenge stereotypes and biases, and work towards creating a more inclusive and welcoming environment for all athletes.