Support road.cc

Like this site? Help us to make it better.

news

Transgender cyclist Emily Bridges insists she has no advantage over rivals

“We're the current punching bag in the culture war,” says 21 year old in interview with DIVA magazine...

Transgender cyclist Emily Bridges insists she has no advantage over her rivals in women’s races – and says she has the data to back that up. She also says that transgender athletes have become “the current punching bag” in the “culture war.”

The 21-year-old had been due to make her debut in a women’s event at the National Omnium Championships in Derby in March, where she would have lined up alongside the likes of former world and Olympic champion in the discipline, Dame Laura Kenny.

While her testosterone levels had dropped sufficiently to allow her to comply with British Cycling’s Transgender and Non-Binary Participation Policy, allowing her to compete in women’s events, the UCI blocked her participation at the last minute.

British Cycling has also subsequently suspended its policy for a year, and a letter signed by more than 70 people involved in women’s cycling, including

The head of Great Britain’s Olympic and Paralympic programme, called on the UCI to tighten its rules on allowing transgender cyclists to compete in women’s events.

> GB Olympic cycling chief joins calls on UCI to tighten transgender rules

In an interview in the forthcoming issue of DIVA, the magazine for LGBTQI women and non-binary people, published to coincide with June’s Pride Month, Bridges responded to those who maintain that transgender women have an unfair advantage over biological females.

“I understand how you'd come to this conclusion because a lot of people still view trans women as men with male anatomies and physiologies,” she said.

“But hormone replacement therapy has such a massive effect. The aerobic performance difference is gone after about four months.

“There are studies going on for trans women in sport. I'm doing one and the performance drop-off that I’ve seen is massive. I don't have any advantage over my competitors and I've got data to back that up.”

Speaking about wider issues transgender people face, she said: “We're the current punching bag populist movements like to go for. We are, at the moment, who the culture war is against.

“There needs to be more positive voices and more education. People are constructing opinions off not the whole story.

“The more studies that are done, the more concrete evidence there will be.

“Sport acts as a microcosm to the rest of society, so with the patriarchal structure that exists in the rest of society, that's intensified in sport.”

Bridges, selected to participate in British Cycling’s senior academy in 2019, is a former junior men’s record holder in the 25 mile time trial and in February won her final race in a male event at the BUCS track championships.

Speaking about her participation in men’s races before she qualified to ride women’s events under British Cycling’s policy in force at the time, she said: “I could have just not ridden, which probably would have been somewhat better for my mental health and for affirming my identity. “

I don't know if it's the right decision or not, but that’s what I did.”

Speaking of her exclusion from the National Omnium Championships, she said: “Everything was kicking off saying, ‘Oh, she's gonna race and she’s gonna beat Laura Kenny’.

“I don’t know why they're thinking that. I wasn’t doing that well.

“It’s like they automatically think I’m gonna beat a multiple Olympic champion, just because I’m trans.

“We knew it would create more uproar in the media and it blew everything up even more.”

She also revealed that she had deleted her social media accounts for two weeks, telling DIVA: “It’s been a struggle. I’ve been trying to take each day by day, get through the day and get to the other side, because there's been some pretty dark times.

“There’s so much hate and criticism that I just don't look at it. I know it is happening and I try to have that drive me, but that's easier said than done."

“I want to make the world a better place,” added Bridges, who came out as transgender in 2020.

“I want to inspire people and help people through their journey to be who they are, and try to act as a bit of a role model.”

Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

Add new comment

63 comments

Avatar
Mungecrundle | 1 year ago
2 likes

Ban competitive sport and give everyone a medal for "doing their best".

Avatar
Hirsute | 1 year ago
5 likes

This story was better when comments were not allowed.

Avatar
mdavidford replied to Hirsute | 1 year ago
3 likes

hirsute wrote:

This story was better when comments were not allowed.

This. This whole thread was more interesting, enlightening, and well-informed when it didn't exist.

Avatar
chrisonabike replied to mdavidford | 1 year ago
1 like

I learnt a lot from not reading it, but even more from not reading the whole article.

In fact - road.cc could do better business just rolling out headlines and letting the mosh pit have at it.

Avatar
Aspeers | 1 year ago
7 likes

I'm just gonna throw this out there... Imagine a world...

Paris 2024 - All althletes will be required to take hormones to ensure gender equality, althletes will then compete an an event by event basis. No seperate events will exist based on this outmoded concept of gender at birth.

Now imagine watching this fiction play out and the press reaction! It'd be terrible, but at least it'd end this nonsense debate that hormones alone can make up for a fundamental difference in biology.

https://fairplayforwomen.com/biological-sex-differences/

Avatar
joe9090 | 1 year ago
3 likes

Just have new sports categories for transgients - with a handicap system based on all the multitude of testosterone/hormone/tits/ass/balls/penis/fanny variables. 

Then women who feel that they don't need/want to transidentify as another gender self identification, but have just "always been women" don't have to put up with all this bollox...

Totally seperate point - how many woman transition to male gender and how do they fare in these competitive sporting scenarios where they compete in male categories?

Avatar
nosferatu1001 replied to joe9090 | 1 year ago
2 likes

Ah so seperate but equal? Good to know 

Avatar
joe9090 replied to nosferatu1001 | 1 year ago
1 like

No one is really equal and life is not fair. How have you not understood these concepts into adulthood? 
Also I should imagine most biological females from birth feel it is pretty damn unfair when they have to compete with individuals who are physically different when born and when through puberty have significantly different body structures/attributes before re-gendering... but you know maybe you carry on ignoring their rights and feelings of inequality nosferatu1001.  I would not call you a misogynist though. I will leave you to brand others with names. 

Avatar
nosferatu1001 replied to joe9090 | 1 year ago
2 likes

I'm not ignoring their rights or feelings, but thanks for the snidery. Really helps. 
 

you're JUST about understanding, so close but so far!

the gender split in sport is a crude "ability" split, in part from the patriarchal shitshow of a society we've inherited. 
 

why not have a real ability split? As you say, life isn't fair, but we split eg boxing up into categories based on physicality, why not in all sports? 

Avatar
sparrowlegs replied to nosferatu1001 | 1 year ago
2 likes

Boxing is based on weights AFTER it first being based on biological sex. 

Avatar
sparrowlegs replied to nosferatu1001 | 1 year ago
0 likes

Equal but different. 

Avatar
nosferatu1001 replied to sparrowlegs | 1 year ago
1 like

sparrowlegs wrote:

Equal but different. 

so that woman over there isn't a true woman, so can't compete?

poster meet fallacy....

Avatar
sparrowlegs replied to nosferatu1001 | 1 year ago
1 like

Does the woman have or ever had a penis?

Avatar
sparrowlegs replied to nosferatu1001 | 1 year ago
2 likes

Ideology meet biology

Avatar
sparrowlegs | 1 year ago
6 likes

Emily needs to accept that a lot of her competitors have an issue competing against her because she's a biological male and thus has many advantages over her biological female competitors. 

The onus should be on Emily to prove that being a biological male doesn't give her any advantages over her competitors and that she can live and compete on the same hormone levels as them. 

Avatar
nosferatu1001 replied to sparrowlegs | 1 year ago
4 likes

You and your bollox about "biological female" again. 
 

you're unable to give a definiton of it that is accepted by actual science. The last few times you've then decided that the capacity to bear children is what matters. 

Avatar
sparrowlegs replied to nosferatu1001 | 1 year ago
5 likes

Haha! Get the links to transgender vikings and 2 spirit pharaohs at the ready Nos. That'll prove science and biology wrong. 

Only 0.0018 of people are born DSD and of those there are 14 differentiations within the DSD spectrum. What het-hating misogynistic radicals like yourself rely on is operating in the shallow end of the information and evidence spectrum. 

Avatar
Aspeers replied to sparrowlegs | 1 year ago
7 likes

Emily cannot prove that being a biological male doesn't give her any advantages... It does. It is a simple biological truth.

As a society we can fully embrace emily's descision to be a woman, that is not the same thing as fair competition.

Avatar
sparrowlegs replied to Aspeers | 1 year ago
6 likes

My point exactly. Being born a biological male stops her from competing against biological females. 

Avatar
vthejk replied to sparrowlegs | 1 year ago
3 likes

I say this ALL the time, but sport is practically built on the precedent that people have a biological advantage over others. I, a relatively athletic and physically able person, could train for decades but may still never have the altitude adaptations of Nairo Quintana, the long torso of Michael Phelps, the natural physical strength and fitness of Serena Williams or the resistance to fatigue of Lael Wilcox. 

It strikes me as strange that the most vocal critics of biological advantages only come forward when trans athletes participate in sport (and not even when they win in sport), not for any of the above mentioned athletes or anyone else perceived as being biologically superior to others.

The only possible conclusion to this is that these critics are, by definition, transphobic.

Avatar
nosferatu1001 replied to vthejk | 1 year ago
3 likes

vthejk wrote:

I say this ALL the time, but sport is practically built on the precedent that people have a biological advantage over others. I, a relatively athletic and physically able person, could train for decades but may still never have the altitude adaptations of Nairo Quintana, the long torso of Michael Phelps, the natural physical strength and fitness of Serena Williams or the resistance to fatigue of Lael Wilcox. 

It strikes me as strange that the most vocal critics of biological advantages only come forward when trans athletes participate in sport (and not even when they win in sport), not for any of the above mentioned athletes or anyone else perceived as being biologically superior to others.

The only possible conclusion to this is that these critics are, by definition, transphobic.

it's precisely that. They'll then cry about how it's unfair to be called transphobic when they post transphobic things. 

Avatar
sparrowlegs replied to nosferatu1001 | 1 year ago
4 likes

For "transphobic things" see anything that points out the obvious backed by evidence, science, biology etc.

Avatar
Car Delenda Est replied to sparrowlegs | 1 year ago
0 likes
sparrowlegs wrote:

For "transphobic things" see anything that points out the obvious backed by evidence, science, biology etc.

Source?

Avatar
deanj replied to vthejk | 1 year ago
2 likes

It's a complex issue, with valid points made on both sides. I don't have a side in this, I usually side with the oppressed or marginalised, and in this situation that seems to apply to both "sides". But I would say that name-calling does nothing to help your argument. It's possible to be supportive of trans-rights and yet aware of the complexity of the issue.

Avatar
Aspeers | 1 year ago
7 likes

When you call NHS 111 they will ask you for the gender that is on your birth certificate before proceeding with triage on pathways. They will still use your preferrred gender preference for communication. Why the difference? You may identify as a woman or man, but you cannot change the nature of your DNA, our species has two genders, they are fundamentally different in terms of Physiology. In order to treat anyone who is unwell this difference can be critically important to determine the correct course of treatment. This is a simple scientific fact.

In order to keep competition fair it's got to be XX vs XX and XY vs XY.

For anyone who wants to compete, compete, but reconcile to yourself that hormone treatments alone will not level the playing field... it's more complicated than that, you're more complicated than that. It may feel unfair... but competing against athletes who do not share your biological gender.. it also unfair.

Avatar
nosferatu1001 replied to Aspeers | 1 year ago
6 likes

That is absolutley incorrect. Our species has more than two sexes (what you miscategorise as gender) and your gcse level biology is inadequate. 

Avatar
Aspeers replied to nosferatu1001 | 1 year ago
2 likes

Thank you for your comment "That is absolutley incorrect. Our species has more than two sexes" and on this basis... for competition to be fair we need more categories.

Avatar
Brauchsel replied to nosferatu1001 | 1 year ago
6 likes

"Our species has more than two sexes". It doesn't. It has two, and a very small number of people who don't fit neatly into them. Just like pretty much every other mammalian species. 
Even if there were more than two sexes, this would be irrelevant to this case in which Emily is a member of the male sex who wants (and I don't doubt her sincerity) to compete against members of the female sex. 
The "multiple-sex" theory seems to me to hinder the trans-rights argument, as the overwhelming majority of trans people don't have biological markers at odds with their presumed sex: they would just prefer to be treated as if they were in another of the main two categories. 

Avatar
nosferatu1001 replied to Brauchsel | 1 year ago
4 likes

No, our species has more than two sexes. Sorry, your pre 1960s understanding of biology isn't compatible with the actual state of human knowledge.  
 

sex and gender are not synonymous terms any longer.  Not in the scientific world. And Emily is a woman,,not a man. 

Avatar
joe9090 replied to nosferatu1001 | 1 year ago
5 likes

Up to and beyond 98.2% of the global population conform to one of two scientifically defined 'reproductive sexes'. Some studies suggest less than 0.2% of the poulation deviate from that. So I think Aspeers is mostly correct and for you to assert "That is absolutley incorrect" shows a tremendous bias on your part. 

Pages

Latest Comments