Transgender cyclist Emily Bridges says she was ‘harassed and demonised’ after exclusion from national championships

Emily Bridges, who was scheduled to compete against British Olympic stars such as Laura Kenny in the event, said she learned from British Cycling on Wednesday that the UCI had ruled she was ineligible.

The 21-year-old said in a statement that she has been in contact with British Cycling and the UCI for the last six months ahead of what was supposed to be her first race in a women’s event.

“In that time, I have provided medical evidence to both British Cycling and the UCI that I meet the eligibility criteria for transgender cyclists, including that my testosterone limit has been well below the limit prescribed by regulations for the last 12 months. “. Bridges said in his statement, which was released by the LGBTQIA+ cycling group PRIDE OUT.

As of March 1, 2020, UCI regulations state that transgender women must reduce their testosterone levels below 5 nmol/L for at least 12 months in order to compete in women’s events.

The UCI did not immediately respond to CNN’s request for comment. CNN has reached out to Bridges directly, but has yet to hear back.

However, The Guardian reported that the UCI prevented BRIDGES from competing because it said she was still registered as a male cyclist and therefore ineligible to compete as a female until her UCI male ID expired.

“I’m an athlete and I just want to get back to racing competitively,” Bridges’ statement continued. “No one should have to choose between being who they are and participating in the sport they love…

“Unsurprisingly to most of the British media, I have been relentlessly harassed and demonized by those who have a specific agenda to drive engagement by their articles, and bring in publicity.

“This is without concern for the welfare of marginalized individuals or groups, with others left to pick up the pieces because of their actions.”

Bridges initially posted the statement on his Instagram account, but has since made the account private.

On Wednesday, British Cycling released a statement calling for a coalition to tackle the participation of transgender and non-binary people in the sport. While British Cycling said they “acknowledge” the UCI’s decision, they also “fully acknowledge” Bridges’ disappointment with the result.

“Transgender and non-binary inclusion is bigger than a race and an athlete: it is a challenge for all elite sports,” the statement read.

“We believe that all participants in our sport deserve more clarity and understanding about participation in elite competition and we will continue to work with the UCI both on Emily’s case and the broader situation regarding this issue.

“We also understand that in elite sports the concept of fairness is essential. For this reason, British Cycling is today calling for a coalition to share, learn and understand more about how we can achieve fairness in a way that upholds dignity and the respect of all athletes.

“In all sports, much more needs to be done, collectively, before long-term conclusions can be drawn.”

Among the athletes who voiced opposition to Bridges’ inclusion in the event was British 800m runner Ellie Baker, who called the original decision “ridiculous”.

“How this has been allowed to happen is just ridiculous,” he wrote on Twitter. “I would refuse to compete and I hope other women will support me in this as well. This is totally unfair. The advantages a trans woman has had in going from puberty to that of a man can never be undone.”

Fellow athletes Seren-Bundy Davies and Jessie Knight were among those expressing support for Baker’s post, as well as former British swimmer Sharron Davies.

At the velodrome, 19-year-old Sophie Lewis won the title at the National Omnium Championships.

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