Trans Cyclist Emily Bridges has launched a scathing attack on British Cycling, accusing it of “genocide” against transgender cyclists after trans ‘women’ were permanently banned from racing against females in British competitive events. The Telegraph has the story (with pronouns below corrected for errors in the original report – the Telegraph insists, like almost all mainstream media, on using biologically inaccurate pronouns, apparently mistaking pronouns for a matter of individual preference rather than a social device for differentiating males and females).
The announcement [of the ban] all-but eliminates the likelihood of Bridges competing at Paris 2024 as he will race in an open category in the U.K.
In a remarkable 650-word statement posted on his Instagram page, Bridges said British Cycling was guilty of a “violent act” and said it was a “failed organisation.”
He wrote: “Does it surprise me that the same organisation funded directly by a state that ships vulnerable refugees to Rwanda, violently clamps down on any political dissent that they disapprove of, or starves their people? No, of course, it doesn’t.
“The same organisation with actively homophobic coaches, who encouraged eating disorders and did nothing about any bullying between its riders. The same organisation where elite riders influence their policy when it doesn’t fit their entitled and narrow worldview, with no ability for nuance or any desire to question the view that they’ve been told since birth.”
Some grass-roots riders warn the rules do not go far enough, however.
“Fairness is absolutely a driving factor,” said British Cycling’s Chief Executive Jon Dutton of the new pending policy for events deemed competitive by the governing body.
Pressure will now intensify on the International Cycling Union (UCI) to follow suit with global rules, with the conclusion of its own review expected in August.
However, following a nine month rule, there will be no protections at non-competitive levels where “inclusivity is absolutely the driving factor”, Dutton added.
Effectively, any club event that is not deemed a registered race by British Cycling will allow trans women to cycle alongside females. Included in this category are the community-based British Cycling-sponsored Breeze women-only bike rides.
These rides were specifically set up as a sanctuary for women and Tessa McInnes, a lawyer and Breeze cyclist based in the West Midlands, expressed dismay that her event was not included.
“A lot of women are looking for Breeze rides because they have confidence issues and there can be a very macho culture in cycling,” she explains. “And then they turn up and find that there’s a biological male on the ride. The idea was ‘if you dare say anything, you are transphobic’.”
Corinne Kielty, Breeze cyclist, based in West Yorkshire, added: “Allowing trans women in just negates the whole principle of having a ‘women-only’ rule. It’s an outrage, frankly.”
Maria Blower, who represented Great Britain when women’s cyclists were first permitted in the Olympic Games in 1984, said some volunteers for the event were now resigning over the policy. “We still want to regain the grass roots,” she said.
Sharron Davies, Britain’s 1980 Olympic swimming silver medallist and a leading voice for protecting female categories in all sports, also pointed out potential flaws at grass-roots level, saying local women athletes are “just as worthy as elite athletes to fair sport”.
You know the culture wars aren’t going well when you can’t even insist that women-only events are, well, women-only.
Still, small wins portend bigger gains, we hope.
Worth reading in full.
Stop Press: Oliver Brown, the Telegraph’s Chief Sports Writers, says in reference to British Cycling’s decision that of course trans people have rights, just not the right to colonise women’s sports.
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