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Tipsheet

Biological Male Cyclist Excluded from Women’s Race Issues Statement

Bernard Papon/Pool Photo via AP, File

A biological male transgender cyclist who was prohibited from competing in a women’s race over the weekend issued a statement this week claiming to have been “harassed and demonized” by the media. 

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As Townhall covered, Zach “Emily” Bridges, 21, was planning to race at the British National Omnium Championship on Saturday. Before the race, BBC reported that Bridges was cut from competing because Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), the governing body of the sport, told British Cycling that Bridges was not eligible to participate. 

According to BBC, Bridges began hormone therapy treatment to transition to becoming a woman last year. The 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. 

Reportedly, there were discussions that female athletes were going to boycott the race to protest Bridges’ involvement. But, a report from The Guardian claimed that Bridges’ male UCI ID must expire before Bridges is allowed to compete as a woman. 

In a published statement, Bridges said “I have provided both British Cycling and the UCI with medical evidence that I meet the eligibility criteria for transgender female cyclists, including that my testosterone limit has been far below the limit prescribed by the regulations for the last 12 months.”

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"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.”

In the statement, Bridges also attacked the British media. 

"As is no surprise with most of the British media, I've been relentlessly harassed and demonized by those who have a specific agenda to push. They attack anything that isn't the norm and print whatever is most likely to result in the highest engagement for their articles, and bring in advertising,” Bridges wrote. "This is without care for the wellbeing of individuals or marginalized groups, and others are left to pick up the pieces due to their actions."

In a statement published by Reuters, British Cycling said that “transgender and non-bindary inclusion is bigger than one race and one athlete – it is a challenge for all elite sports.”

"We believe all participants within our sport deserve more clarity and understanding around participation in elite competitions and we will continue to work with the UCI on both Emily's case and the wider situation with regards to this issue,” the statement added.

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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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