Like this site? Help us to make it better.

British Cycling updates transgender policy, introduces new "Open" category

The national governing body announced an "Open" category today to run alongside the female category, transgender women required to compete in the open category...

British Cycling has announced an update to its Transgender and Non-Binary Participation policies by introducing a new "Open" category to run alongside the women's category.

The announcement comes after the governing body suspended its former policies in April last year following the controversy around the participation of Emily Bridges. The new policy comes after a nine-month review period.

> Emily Bridges calls British Cycling "failed organisation", says trans woman have been "banned" as new 'Open' category announced

Here's the full statement by British Cycling:

In April 2022 we suspended our Transgender and Non-Binary Participation Policy so that we could conduct a full review of the available medical science and carry out a targeted consultation with our communities.

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.

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. This aim has not changed: it has been central to our review and we remain committed to this vital work.

The nine-month policy review was led by an internal working group, made up of a broad range of representatives from across British Cycling, Scottish Cycling and Welsh Cycling. During these nine months, the working group undertook a targeted consultation consisting of 14 focus groups and a number of one-to-one interviews (including dedicated sessions for female Race Licence holders and trans and non-binary members).

We also conducted a full medical science review, followed by an assessment of the practical changes and support needed to ensure the policy’s successful implementation. The review process was independently audited to confirm the strength of its governance and supported by external legal advice.

The review has led to two new policies being created: Policy for Competitive Activity, which relates to all British Cycling-sanctioned competitive events, and Policy for Non-Competitive Activity, which builds on the long-term commitment to inclusion set out in our equality, diversity and inclusion strategy, Our Ride.

The British Cycling Board endorsed the two new policies in April. We will provide further information on our exact implementation date to our members and event organisers in due course, and expect to have implemented both policies in full by the end of 2023.

Policy for Competitive Activity

The Policy for Competitive Activity covers all British Cycling-sanctioned competitive events. It will see the implementation of an ‘Open’ category alongside a ‘Female’ category. This means that the current men’s category will be consolidated into the ‘Open’ category.

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 in place for those whose sex was assigned female at birth and transgender men who are yet to begin hormone therapy. At this stage they will be eligible to compete in the ‘Open’ category only, and should ensure that they continue to adhere to the requirements of UK Anti-Doping. Those whose sex was assigned female at birth are also able to compete in the ‘Open’ category if they so wish.

Existing Race Licences held by transgender women will continue to be valid until the point at which the new policy comes into force, and we are working closely with those individuals to support their continued participation in events following the change in policy.

In the case of ‘International Events’ which are delivered in the UK on behalf of the UCI (such as the UCI Track Nations Cup), or events on the UCI calendar owned and delivered by independent organisers (such as The Women’s Tour), the UCI policy on eligibility will take precedence.

Policy for Non-Competitive Activity

The Policy for Non-Competitive Activity builds on our equality, diversity and inclusion strategy, Our Ride, and re-asserts our commitment to inclusion for trans and non-binary riders across our non-competitive activities.

This includes our Breeze programme, a women-only community programme, which will continue to remain open and inclusive for transgender women and non-binary people.

Trans and non-binary people can also continue to participate in a broad range of British Cycling activities in line with their gender identities, including: club and coach-led activities, ability based race programmes (such as Go-Race events), community programmes, Talent Development Centres and non-competitive events such as sportives.

Throughout the implementation period we will be commencing a programme of digital improvements which will widen the gender options available to members and participants across our platforms.

British Cycling CEO, Jon Dutton, said:

“Our new policies are the product of a robust nine-month review process which we know will have a very real-world impact for our community both now and in the future. We understand that this will be particularly difficult for many of our trans and non-binary riders, and our commitment to them today is twofold.

“First, we will continue to assess our policy annually and more frequently as the medical science develops, and will continue to invite those impacted to be an integral part of those conversations. Second, we will also continue to ensure that our non-competitive activities provide a positive and welcoming environment, where everyone can feel like they belong and are respected in our community, and take action to eradicate discrimination from the sport.

“I am confident that we have developed policies that both safeguard the fairness of cyclesport competition, whilst ensuring all riders have opportunities to participate.

“We have always been very clear that this is a challenge far greater than one sport. We remain committed to listening to our communities and working with our fellow sporting bodies to monitor changes in the scientific and policy landscape, to ensure that sport is inclusive for all. We have been open and transparent with the UCI on our decision and will work collaboratively with them to ensure a seamless implementation over the coming months.

“I’d finally like to thank everyone who has supported this process over the past 12 months to ensure that we reached our decision in the right way. This includes the British Cycling, Scottish Cycling and Welsh Cycling staff in our policy working group, and those who participated in our consultation.

"We stand steadfast behind our zero-tolerance approach to harassment, bullying and discrimination, and will not hesitate to take action on any breaches of our Code of Conduct, including our zero-tolerance approach to all cases of discriminatory language or behaviour."

British Cycling had embargoed the release today at 11AM. However, transgender cyclist Emily Bridges broke it beforehand with a scathing attack on the governing body's policies with an Instagram post.

She said: "British Cycling is a failed organisation, the racing scene is dying under your watch and all you do is take money from petrochemical companies and engage in culture wars. You don't care about making sport more diverse, you want to make yourself look better and you're even failing at that. Cycling is still one of the whitest, straightest sports out there, and you couldn't care less."

Adwitiya joined in 2023 after finishing his masters in Journalism from Cardiff University, with a dissertation focusing on active travel. He's currently living in Cardiff and for the most part moans about the abruptly ending cycle lanes, if he's not cursing the headwind. Adwitiya also covers local and national politics for Voice Wales, and sometimes dabbles in topics related to science, tech and the environment. Cycling became a part of his life just a couple of years ago, and now he can't think of a single reason why anyone would drive if they could cycle. He usually uses his bike for commuting, but he also loves excursions on the Taff trail, however never underestimate his ability to find an excuse to watch something on GCN instead.

Latest Comments