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British Cycling to ban transgender women from female category

LONDON – British Cycling on Friday became the latest governing body to ban transgender women from competing in the female category of competitive events, tightening its rules to safeguard the “fairness” of the sport.

A new policy to be implemented will split racing into “open” and “female” categories.

Transgender women, transgender men, non-binary individuals and those whose sex was assigned male at birth will be eligible to compete in the “open” category.

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 rule change is the result of a nine-month review which involved a consultation process with riders and stakeholders, including members of the Great Britain team.

That research showed a clear performance advantage for individuals who go through puberty as a male, and one that cannot be fully mitigated by testosterone suppression.

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.

“Our aim in creating our policies has always been to advance and promote equality, diversity and inclusion, while at the same time prioritising fairness of competition,” it said.

“We recognise the impact the suspension of our policy has had on trans and non-binary people, and we are sorry for the uncertainty and upset that many have felt during this period.”

The body suspended its previous policy in 2022 after transgender woman Emily Bridges attempted to race at the national omnium championships as a female rider while she was still registered as a male.

Bridges has condemned the new policy, labelling it a “violent act” and calling the governing body a “failed organisation”.

There is still no set date for the new regulations to be implemented, with British Cycling saying only that it will be before the end of the year.

The new policy diverges from that of cycling’s world governing body. The UCI has, for now, allowed transgender women who have gone through male puberty to compete in elite women’s events if they have had reduced testosterone levels of 2.5 nanomoles per litre for the previous two years.