Male-born athletes are no longer allowed to compete in British Cycling’s elite female events under a new transgender and non-binary participation policy published on Friday. The governing body’s new rules are due to be implemented later this year, according to reports.
The Independent said the racing will be split into “open” and “female” categories, with transgender women, transgender men, non-binary individuals and those whose sex was assigned male at birth eligible to compete in the open category.
Meanwhile, the female category will remain for those whose sex was assigned female at birth, and transgender men who are yet to begin hormone therapy. The current men’s category will be consolidated into the open category, in which those whose sex was assigned as female at birth can also compete if they so wish.
British Cycling suspended its previous policy last April after transgender woman Emily Bridges sought to race at the national omnium championships as a female rider. The policy is the result of a nine-month review which included a consultation process with riders and stakeholders in the industry, including members of the Great Britain team.
British Cycling’s previous transgender policy allowed riders to compete in the female category if they had testosterone levels below five nanomoles per litre for a 12-month period prior to competition. The governing body will continue to study new research as it becomes available with the policy being regularly reviewed.
Jon Dutton, British Cycling’s new chief executive, who assumed the role a month ago said the driving force behind the competitive policy was “fairness”, while a non-competitive policy that keeps club rides, coaching programmes and other activities open to all was driven by “inclusivity”.
He said: “It’s an incredibly emotive and at times divisive subject area. We have taken many months to look at three areas: firstly a consultation with the athletes affected and the wider cycling community, secondly looking at the medical research available at this point in time, and thirdly from the legal viewpoint in terms of the association with the Equalities Act.
“We’ve made a decision on the balance of all three to give clarity, to give direction and that clear way forward for any athletes affected…I am sorry it has taken so long to get to this point and for the upset and anxiety some people have had to go through but I accept this is a difficult moment for a number of people directly affected.”