Transgender cyclist Emily Bridges says she was “harassed and demonized” after being excluded from national championships



CNN

The transgender cyclist says that the media “harassed and demonized” her after the UCI, the leading body in world cycling, decided that she could not compete in the national omnium championship in the United Kingdom over the weekend.

Emily Bridges, who was supposed to compete against British Olympic stars such as Laura Kenny at that event, said that she learned through British Zicling on Wednesday that the UCI ruled that she was not qualified.

The 21-year-old said in a statement that she had 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 the women’s discipline.

“In the meantime, I have provided both British Zicling and the UCI with medical evidence that I meet the eligibility criteria for transgender cyclists, including that my testosterone limit has been far below the regulatory limit in the last 12 months,” Bridges said in a statement. published by LGBTKIA + cycling group PRIDE OUT.

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

The UCI did not immediately respond to CNN’s request for comment. CNN contacted Bridges directly, but has not yet received a response.

However, the Guardian reported that the UCI prevented Bridges from competing because he said that she was still registered as a male cyclist and therefore could not compete as a woman until her male UCI identification expired.

“I am an athlete and I just want to compete again,” Bridges said. “No one should choose between being what they are and participating in a sport they love.”

“As is no surprise to most of the British media, I have been ruthlessly harassed and demonized by those who have a concrete plan to push. They attack everything that is unusual and print what will most likely lead to the greatest engagement for their articles and lead to advertising.

“This is without concern for the well-being of individuals or marginalized groups, and others are left to pick up pieces because of their actions.”

Bridges originally posted the statement on her Instagram account, but has since made the account private.

On Wednesday, British Zicling issued a statement calling for the creation of a coalition to deal with transgender and non-binary participation in sport. While British Zicling says it “recognizes” the UCI’s decision, they also “fully acknowledge” Bridges’ disappointment with the outcome.

“Transgender and non-binary inclusion is greater than one race and one athlete – it is a challenge for all elite sports,” the statement said.

“We believe that all participants in our sport deserve more clarity and understanding about participating in elite competitions, and we will continue to work with the UCI on Emily’s case, as well as on the wider situation regarding this issue.”

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

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

Among the athletes who expressed opposition to Bridges’ involvement in the event was British 800-meter runner Eli Baker, who described the original decision as “ridiculous”.

“How this is allowed to happen is ridiculous,” she wrote on Twitter. “I would refuse to race and I hope that other women will be with me in this. This is completely unfair. The benefits that trans women have had from going through puberty as a boy to a man can never be undone. ”

Fellow athletes Seren-Bundy Davis and Jesse Knight were among those who expressed support for Baker’s announcement, as well as former British swimmer Sharon Davis.

In the velodrome, 19-year-old Sophie Lewis won the title at the national omnium championship.

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