A man who identifies as a woman has been ruled ineligible to participate in a women’s championship cycling race in the United Kingdom after female competitors reportedly discussed boycotting the event.
But that’s not the only reason he was tossed from the competition. Emily Bridges, 21, recently competed against other men, identifying as Zach Bridges before coming out as transgender in October 2020.
He had been planning to participate as a woman in this week’s National Omnium Championships in Derby, England, but because Bridges was still registered as a man, the Union Cycliste Internationale said he cannot compete against women until his registration as a male expires, USA Today reported Thursday.
The UCI’s decision came after a number of female riders discussed boycotting the event because of Bridges’ participation and unfair advantage, the U.K.’s Guardian reported.
Bridges won the men’s points race at the British Universities Championships in Glasgow just one month ago, USA Today reported.
British Cycling rules mandate that riders have testosterone levels below five nanomoles per liter for a year prior to competing as a woman. This rule and Bridges’ previous registration as a male made him ineligible, USA Today reported.
British Cycling said in a statement Wednesday that it believes “transgender and non-binary people should be able to find a home, feel welcome and included, and be celebrated in our sport.”
“We have been in close discussions with the UCI regarding Emily’s participation this weekend and have also engaged closely with Emily and her family regarding her transition and involvement in elite competitions,” the organization said.