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    5. Transgender rider Emily Bridges is ready to take the European ..


    Transgender rider Emily Bridges is ready to take the European Court of Human Rights to a ban on cycling in the UK

    Emily Bridges has accused British cycling of violating her human rights. Photo: INSTAGRAM

    Emily Bridges is ready to go to the European Court in Strasbourg after accusing British Cycling of violating its human rights by banning transgender cyclists from participating in women's events.

    Last year, cycling's governing bodies, both domestically, and abroad, it was decided that transgender women born male can no longer compete in the women's category. regardless of testosterone levels.

    Bridges complied with previous testosterone suppression policies following her transition, but was banned from competing ahead of the 2022 national track cycling championships ahead of a sudden overhaul of the transgender policy.

    They were then updated in the past year. and in an interview with ITV, Bridges admitted that she had given up hope of competing at an elite level again, but wanted to challenge the decision for future generations by appealing to the European Court of Human Rights.

    “I don't care if I never compete again – this is for other people who want to compete and that's just the right thing to do,” she said. “How many of these studies are done on athletes? I've been involved in the study and there's very clear data and it's coming out soon.”

    This relates to ongoing research at Loughborough University, which Bridges says will show she doesn't have an unfair advantage over female racers. born women.

    However, her potential competitors at the 2022 British Championships were sufficiently concerned about her participation in the women's omnium before the Commonwealth Games to discuss a boycott if she was allowed to compete.

    The Equality and Human Rights Commission has told governing bodies that there is a “sports exception” in the domestic Equality Act and that it is “therefore likely to be lawful” to introduce a policy that preserves women's sport for girls and women for obvious reasons: fairness or safety.< /p>

    UK sports boards also state that transgender participation, fairness and safety in gender-affected sport cannot be balanced where there is meaningful competition.

    Sports governing bodies are increasingly moving to policies that exclude transgender athletes from competing in elite women's competition, regardless of whether they were born male or have gone through male puberty, but debate is also raging over whether this should apply to all mainstream sports. types of sports.

    'It's not safe'

    British cycling rules still allow Bridges to compete in the “open” category alongside other trans women, trans men and athletes born male, but Bridges doesn't think that this is a fair option.

    “Is it safe for me to compete in the open category?” She said. “I have experience in cycling, so I have previous results, people know me. But for another trans woman who has not competed before, if she is trans but the world perceives her as a cis woman, how fair is it to ask her to put herself out there and compete in an open category? It's not fair. This is also unsafe. You can say you can compete in the open category, but we are women – we should be able to race in the women's category.”

    Bridges was previously a national junior record holder in the men's category, but of her chances of competing at an elite level again, she said: “It's a completely different world now. I don't really allow myself to think about it too much just because that part of my life is gone and I don't want to do it anymore. I really have no choice. I can’t compete… I can’t do what I used to love.”

    She also believes changes in sporting policy have “normalized the exclusion of trans people from public life” and says it is an “incredibly scary” time for trans people in the UK.

    John Dutton, chief executive of British Cycling, said that the new transgender policy had undergone a “thorough” nine-month review. “We will continue to evaluate our policies annually and more frequently as medical science advances, and we will continue to invite those affected to be an integral part of these conversations,” he said. “We will also continue to ensure that our non-competitive activities create a positive and welcoming environment where everyone can feel they belong and are respected in our community, and will take action to eliminate discrimination in sport.”

    < p > “I am confident that we have developed policies that ensure the fairness of cycling competitions while ensuring that all riders have the opportunity to participate. We have always been clear that this is a task much larger than just one sport.”

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