Transgender cyclist Emily Bridges is to be the subject of a new documentary on ITV that will be broadcast on Tuesday 29th November. According to PRiDE OUT, 'Race To Be Me' will tell the story of Bridges' attempt to represent Wales at the Commonwealth Games this year, in which she "found herself at the centre of an international storm."
📺🚴🏻♀️🏳️⚧️ On Tuesday 29 November, elite trans cyclist Emily Bridges’ documentary ‘Race To Be Mẹ’ will be aired on @ITVWales .
— PRiDE OUT (@PrideOutUK) November 24, 2022
Bridges came out as trans in 2020, but after she became eligible to compete in competitive women's cycling events earlier this year - just weeks after winning the men's points race at the British Universities' championships in Glasgow - a media storm ensued.
While some current and former elite female cyclists expressed concerns about Bridges' participation - with 2008 Olympic gold medallist Nicole Cooke calling for a separate category for transgender cyclists in April - Bridges herself was not breaking any rules, with her testosterone staying under the permitted level for the required period to race with women as per British Cycling's policy at the time.
Subsequently, though, Bridges was barred from making her competitive debut at the National Omnium Championships in March of this year by the UCI, which meant she was unable to meet the criteria to be eligible for a spot on the Welsh cycling squad at the Commonwealth Games.
British Cycling then suspended its transgender policy, saying the situation at the time was "unfair on all women riders and poses a challenge to the integrity of racing", which meant Bridges was effectively "dumped by email" according to her mother Sandy Sullivan.
In June, Bridges told ITV: "It was incredibly difficult because I knew that my main goal for the season, the Commonwealth Games, was then out of the question because I couldn't race this event, and it was unlikely I was going to be able to race any international events during the Welsh Cycling's set timeframe for the selection. So the Commonwealth Games were gone. I feel a real pride about being Welsh and I wanted to represent my country at the highest level.
"Things were looking really good and then it seemed like someone leaked my participation, my potential participation, in the Omnium to the press and then it kicked off.
"So obviously it came at very last minute, but I'd say that there's potentially a lot of public pressure to stop me racing."
British Cycling has now issued a new guidance document for transgender and non-binary participation, setting itself a deadline of spring 2023 to finalise a new policy.
On social media, Bridges' mother Sandy Sullivan claims that in a "coincidence" British Cycling has now contacted her daughter to be part of the consultation on its new transgender policy, despite allegedly making no contact with Bridges between the suspension of the previous policy and this week.
Sullivan added: They've [British Cycling] set a deadline of 28th Nov, the day prior to documentary for a response.
"I've spoken to other trans cyclists. None seem to have been contacted so have I become that cynical in believing that their communication is nothing more than a PR exercise."
British Cycling would not comment on specific details of who it had contacted for the consultation, but told road.cc: "It is important that this working group considers the views of those who will likely be affected, including female race licence holders and members of trans and non-binary communities.
"This consultation process has begun and will conclude in the New Year. The feedback that was submitted during our previous consultation will also be evaluated as part of the review."
Arriving at road.cc in 2017 via 220 Triathlon Magazine, Jack dipped his toe in most jobs on the site and over at eBikeTips before being named the new editor of road.cc in 2020, much to his surprise. His cycling life began during his students days, when he cobbled together a few hundred quid off the back of a hard winter selling hats (long story) and bought his first road bike - a Trek 1.1 that was quickly relegated to winter steed, before it was sadly pinched a few years later. Creatively replacing it with a Trek 1.2, Jack mostly rides this bike around local cycle paths nowadays, but when he wants to get the racer out and be competitive his preferred events are time trials, sportives, triathlons and pogo sticking - the latter being another long story.