Emily Bridges once imagined competing for Great Britain and earning a spot in the 2024 Summer Olympic Games. These ambitions, however, have been derailed by a number of spanners in the form of new laws concerning transgender athletes. Both Union Cycliste Internationale, the sport’s international governing body, and British Cycling have prohibited the majority of trans women from competing in the female division.

Since its inception, the discussion about trans athletes’ involvement in sports has been intense and contentious, and it is still far from settled. For many, the issue represents a fundamental right for trans athletes to develop and display their athletic prowess. Others, however, maintain that due to disparities in physical characteristics associated with sex, trans involvement creates an unequal playing field. There have been a number of athletes who have thought they have faced gender discrimination, despite the need to approach this subject with much delicacy and compassion.

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Who is Emily Bridges?

The transgender cyclist Emily Bridges, who was at the forefront of a controversy that gripped British Cycling over the last year and forced the organisation to amend its regulations on transgender and non-binary participation, has announced that she plans to file a lawsuit to overturn those revisions.

Following a nine-month review and more than a year after British Cycling controversially excluded Bridges from the women’s British Omnium Championship in April 2022, the organisation decided to introduce a new “Open” category for competitive events in May. This category will combine the current men’s grouping and run alongside the female category.

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Bridges stated that she will “fight” British Cycling’s new transgender regulations “in the courts and the streets” in an interview with British Vogue(link is external) published this week as part of the magazine’s list of 2023’s most powerful women.

Bridges said in an interview with Vogue that she was “devastated” by the decision even though she had anticipated the creation of a new ‘Open’ classification, which would effectively ban trans women from competing in the female category. Bridges had accused British Cycling of “furthering a genocide” against transgender people following the policy update in May.