Transgender Cyclist Emily Bridges, who previously competed with men, was banned from competing in a women’s championship race, when female competitors threatened to drop out.
Bridges, who set a junior record in 2018, when competing against men as Zach Bridges, was set to race in her first competition against women in the British National Omnium Championship over the weekend, but female riders felt she had an unfair advantage and indicated they would not participate in the race.
On Wednesday, UCI, the world cycling authority, ruled that Bridges, 21, who only began hormone therapy last year, would not be allowed to compete. The ban was not based on her testosterone levels, but the fact that she was still registered as a male cyclist.
UCI regulations require transgender women to lower thier testosterone levels below 5 nmol/L for a full year to compete the women’s category, and Bridges claimed she provided the “medical evidence” neccesary to meet the eligibility requirement.
“I am an athlete, and I just want to race competitively again,” Bridges’ statement continued. “No one should have to choose between being who they are, and participating in the sport that they love,” she wrote in a statement.
Bridges may be prevented from further racing when a UCI panel assesses her future eligibility in the next six weeks. UCI regulations demand that the organization “guarantee fair and meaningful competition that displays and rewards the fundamental values and meaning of the sport.”
Across the pond, the NCAA has been accused of “trying to save face” when transgender UPenn swimmer Lia Thomas tied Kentucky swimmer Riley Gaines for fifth place in the women’s 200-meter NCAA championships last month.
Gaines claims that NCAA officials gave Thomas the single fifth place trophy at the event and said they would send hers in the mail. When asked why Thomas was selected, the official told her that trophies were given out in chronological order.
“So then, I was thinking, ‘Chronological order. We just tied. I don’t really know what we’re being chronological about. So can you explain?’ He kind of just looked at me and said, ‘We have to give the trophy to Lia but we respect and admire you so much.’ Gaines explained.
“So at this point he basically admitted to me that the NCAA was trying to save face. I don’t think they handled this properly, but I don’t think they were prepared to handle this kind of situation,” she remarked.
“Only the top one percent of college athletes make it to this meet. You have to fight for every point. I was frustrated with how this was handled and how they addressed me.”