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UK cycling federation unveils new transgender policy - DW - 05/26/2023

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The UK's cycling governing body on Friday issued a new transgender and non-binary participation policy that will see competition split into "open" and "female" categories.

The policy has been released after a nine-month review that included a study of pertinent medical research led by Dr. Nigel Jones, British Cycling's chief medical officer.

That research was said to demonstrate that the performance advantage of people who go through puberty as a male cannot be fully evened out by suppressing testosterone.

The review was triggered after British Cycling's former policy was suspended last year following an attempt by transgender woman Emily Bridges to race at the national omnium championships as a female rider.

What do the new rules say?

Under the new policy, transgender women, transgender men, non-binary individuals and those whose sex was assigned male at birth will be eligible to compete in the open category, which subsumes the current men's category.

The female category will remain reserved for those whose sex was assigned female at birth and transgender men who are yet to begin hormone therapy.

The federation's previous transgender policy permitted cyclists to participate in the female category if they had testosterone levels below five nanomoles per liter for a 12-month period prior to a competition.

The policy differs from that of the UCI, cycling's world governing body, which allows transgender women who have gone through male puberty to compete in elite women's events if they have had reduced testosterone levels of 2.5 nanomoles per liter for the previous two years.

Transgender racing

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What did British Cycling say about the policy?

Jon Dutton, the new chief executive of British Cycling, said he was sorry for any anxiety and upset around the federation's transgender policy.

"It's an incredibly emotive and at times divisive subject area," he said. "We have taken many months to look at three areas: firstly, a consultation with the athletes affected and the wider cycling community; secondly, looking at the medical research available at this point in time; and thirdly from the legal viewpoint in terms of the association with the Equalities Act."

"We've made a decision on the balance of all three to give clarity, to give direction and that clear way forward for any athletes affected," he added.

British Cycling said it would keep up with new research and regularly review its policy.

There is still no set date for the new regulations to be implemented, but British Cycling said it would occur before the end of this year.  

tj/nm (AP, Reuters)

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