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Tipsheet

Biological Male Transgender Cyclist Barred From Competing Against Women

AP Photo/Laurent Cipriani

A biological male cyclist who identifies as a woman was prohibited from competing in a women’s championship race over the weekend following threats of boycott by female competitors. 

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According to BBC, Zach “Emily” Bridges, 21, was cut from competing in the women’s British National Omnium Championship on Saturday. Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), the governing body of the sport, told British Cycling that Bridges was not eligible to participate.

Reportedly, Bridges began hormone therapy treatment to transition to becoming a woman last year. BBC’s report mentioned that the UCI’s policy regarding transgender athletes requires riders to have testosterone levels below five nanonmoles per liter for a 12 months prior to competition. However, UCI can still prohibit Bridges from competing. 

In addition, BBC noted that there were discussions that female athletes were going to boycott the race to protest Bridges’ involvement.

“BBC Sport understands that prior to her being ruled out of Saturday's championships, discussions were taking place among British riders about taking action against Bridges' inclusion, but they feared voicing their opinions would be interpreted as transphobic,” the report stated. It noted that the “only form of protest” seen against Bridges’ inclusion were three “save women’s sports” banners held up during women’s races.

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Bridges reportedly competed in men’s races during the past year. This weekend’s race in Derby, United Kingdom would have been Bridges' first race competing against women.

The Guardian reported that Bridges’ male UCI ID must expire. Until then, Bridges is registered as a male cyclist and cannot compete against women. 

The backlash against biological male athletes competing against women has escalated since William “Lia” Thomas, a swimmer for University of Pennsylvania, competed against women and won an NCAA championships race, as Rebecca covered. Since then, several states, including OklahomaIowa, and Arizona have created legislation banning biological males from competing in women’s sports. 

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