British Cycling statement: Transgender and Non-Binary Participation Policy

by 90

Full Press Release:

When we developed and published our Transgender and Non-binary Participation Policy, we did so with the intention of advancing the cause of promoting diversity and inclusion within the sport of cycling.

Understanding that this is a fast-moving area of sports policy and scientific research, we committed to reviewing our policy annually or more frequently, as required, to reflect emerging circumstances.

Due to the difference in the policies held by British Cycling and the UCI relating to the licensing process, it is currently possible for trans-female athletes to gain eligibility to race domestically while their cases remain pending with the UCI (or indeed in situations where they are deemed ineligible).

This in turn allows those riders to accrue domestic ranking points which impact selection decisions for National Championship races, which is not only unprecedented in our sport, but is also unfair on all women riders and poses a challenge to the integrity of racing.

We also understand that there are concerns regarding the extent to which our current policy appropriately reflects the Sports Councils’ Equality Group guidance, published in September 2021.

As a result of this, on Wednesday 6 April the British Cycling Board of Directors voted in favour of an immediate suspension of the current policy, pending a full review, which will be initiated in the coming weeks.

While the current policy was created following an extensive external and internal consultation, the review will allow us time for further discussion with all stakeholders, including women and the transgender and non-binary communities, as we strive to provide all within our sport with the clarity and understanding they deserve.

As an organisation we remain committed to ensuring that transgender and non-binary people are welcomed, supported and celebrated in the cycling community, and the inclusion of these groups within non-competitive activities remains unaffected by the suspension. We will also continue to work tirelessly to ensure that our sport remains free of hate, discrimination and abuse in all forms, and that we prioritise the welfare of riders, volunteers, event organisers, commissaires and others that our sport can’t continue without.

In the past week we have started in earnest our work to galvanise a coalition of organisations to come together to find a better answer, and have enjoyed productive discussions with national governing bodies 

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Viewing 40 posts - 41 through 80 (of 90 total)
  • British Cycling statement: Transgender and Non-Binary Participation Policy
  • Premier Icon theotherjonv
    Full Member

    Dead naming is not cool but I do hope people will in time feel more comfortable with acknowledging their own past and having others refer to it.

    I hope so too, but right now (and can’t speak for everyone) that is a long way off. Particularly when others can so easily use it to bully and belittle, and then just ‘sorry I forgot’ it away again. Deadnaming and misgendering multiple times every day. How stupid / forgetful are you?

    Including one of the GP’s that we have asked to support us with private prescriptions (still need someone to agree to do injections even if we buy the medicines privately)  I am this close to complaining to the GMC, but they’re so anti-TG issues as well, I can’t see the point.

    Premier Icon Convert
    Full Member

    When the rules were written and male and female categories were created it is this genetic difference that they were looking to accommodate. That hasn’t changed, as genetics hasn’t so seems an entirely rational consistent.

    But…….if I were to identify as a woman I think I’d feel aggrieved to have to enter the ‘men’s’ category. Hence why I think ‘open’ is a more welcoming and embracing term. You might need a snappier title than ‘biologically female’ for the alternative I grant you.

    Premier Icon Steve
    Full Member

    I seriously doubt anyone chooses to transition just to be more successful at a sport.

    Personally, if the world sports bodies can all agree that a hormone level up to “x” is suitable to compete as a woman to avoid an unfair advantage, I’ll bow to that decision and let people get on with it. People at either extreme of the arguments will never be happy, all we can do is try our best to support those people going through what is already a very challenging journey.

    I’m saying this a scientifically ignorant, white, middle-aged, middle class cis heterosexual male, which makes my opinion even less valid.

    Premier Icon chakaping
    Free Member

    It also doesn’t make any sense for most sports

    Why is that?

    Because it’s “not fair” on those who have transitioned?

    Premier Icon ScotRoutes
    Full Member

    I seriously doubt anyone chooses to transition just to be more successful at a sport.

    Hmm. There will be edge cases though. We know that some folk are willing to take life-threatening drugs to do so.

    Personally, if the world sports bodies can all agree that a hormone level up to “x” is suitable to compete as a woman to avoid an unfair advantage, I’ll bow to that decision and let people get on with it.

    Two issues; (a) the advantages created by male puberty don’t disappear, (b) we’ve done the “taking drugs to get a competitive advantage” thing in the past and decided it was a bad thing.

    Having said that, I’m a man and I don’t compete so my opinion doesn’t really count for much. I do think we should mostly be listening to women.

    Premier Icon chakaping
    Free Member

    I do think we should mostly be listening to women.

    Agreed, and perhaps like yours, my views on the subject are mostly informed by having listened to women.

    I think it’s actually going to be easier to sort this at the top level than the grassroots and youth mass participation level, where the arguments move away from what’s fair to what people are comfortable with.

    Premier Icon dissonance
    Full Member

    That hasn’t changed, as genetics hasn’t so seems an entirely rational consistent.

    Aside from if you start looking at someones genes then you get various syndromes which dont match the binary options we get taught at school
    For example xy females (Swyer syndrome) and xx males (de la Chapelle syndrome) or even xxy males (Klinefelter syndrome) plus various others.

    Premier Icon crazy-legs
    Full Member

    I think there can be a lot of positives that come out of it though. Not least of which is asking ourselves why we separate children’s sport by gender.

    Youth is a fascinating one and there’s a reasonable chunk of evidence to suggest that at U8 / U10 / U12, there is very little physical difference between boys and girls, it is certainly possible to hold a single mixed U8 race and then separate the results out to boys and girls but they will all be mixed in.

    British Cycling removed the National Series for U8 and U10 a little while ago to remove some of the pressure of competition at such a young age and instead focus on enjoyment, skills development and so on and although there was some push-back from parents, many actually welcomed it in terms of saving significant chunks of cash and also allowing more time in the day for a race organiser to run decent length races for older kids rather than everyone being crammed into one racing programme.

    However once past the U12 stage and into U14 / U16, you do get very noticeable differences as children mature at different ages. I’ve seen 14 year old boys built like the proverbial and 16 year old boys who’d be blown away in a stiff breeze which is where factors like gear restrictions come in. BC also have a process by which Youth riders, after scoring a certain number of points in their own age category competition, could apply for Dispensation to ride up into the next older category. There were restrictions on it (Youth riders still not allowed to compete on the open road for example) but it was a good well-managed system for ensuring that one overly mature 14yr old boy did not spend a year lapping the field every time in U14 races but could instead go up to U16 and race.

    I suspect we will have a third category of competition for transgender atheletes

    The problem with that is you run into the same issue that Women’s racing was struggling with for years which is very low numbers.
    Organiser puts on Women’s race, gets 3 entries, cancels it and declares Women’s racing a total loss.
    Organiser puts on Women’s race, gets 3 entries, spends all his time on social media berating Women for not entering, loses all the goodwill of potential participants, declares Women’s racing a total loss.
    Organiser puts on Women’s race, gets some entries, shoots himself in the foot by only paying out paltry prizes (because “smaller field”), social media storm ensues, declares Women’s racing a total loss.

    It took years of working with race organisers, progressive improvement in rider categories, points on offer, prizes on offer and so on to bring Women’s racing up to par and that’s with 50% of the population available to race. Try that with 1% of the population (TG) open to race and then understand that it’s not as simple as “TG”; at the very least there is M->F and F->M.

    Premier Icon andrewh
    Free Member

    I think it’s actually going to be easier to sort this at the top level than the grassroots

    I think grassroots might be a lot easier. For example, I play badminton at grassroots level. I regularly get beaten by women, and even young teenagers. I don’t care, it’s just for fun. If I became a woman they would still beat me because they are better players, but at local club stuff no one cares who’s playing really. Separating by ability makes a lot more sense than by gender (OK, maybe you need gender as well in boxing, but not in snooker for instance)
    There is only one sport I am good at, but if I were to become a woman there is a very real chance I would be world champion. My 49th in the mens category would have been 3rd in the womens last time. This would understandably (I expect) upset the women who compete at that level, people would definitey notice and would care, at that level the skills are on par but strength and power would give me a huge advantage.

    Premier Icon kelvin
    Full Member

    Almost as if it depends on the sport, and the individual. Rules will have to be sport specific, and depend on the level of competition, and it will no doubt exclude some trans-women while hopefully allowing others to compete. It will not be simple if it is to be fair. Of course the simple blanket “no” that the Prime Minister says he backs (knowing most of the population will happily embrace the simple and easy to understand glib approach) is the only path that many people will accept. Governing organisations will have a tough job resisting being pushed down that route… but I hope many will. This needs long careful consideration on a sport by sport, competitor by competitor basis, and will evolve over time.

    Premier Icon poah
    Free Member

    Male and female categories plus transgender. If you are trans you can enter the trans or the sex you were born as. For those that are not genetically wild type make or female you look at that on a case by case basis. It doesn’t have to be hard.

    Premier Icon judetheobscure
    Free Member

    you have to (I think) define what is male and female, and I think that there is a growing acceptance that the mere presence of a willy or muff doesn’t cut it any more.

    Barring those people born with intersex chromosones, this is not difficult to do. The biological definition of male and female is quite easy to establish. The sociological definition is where we run into problems (a problem I am very familiar with and entirely sympathetic to).

    The problem with that is you run into the same issue that Women’s racing was struggling with for years which is very low numbers.

    True but that’s life; you can’t set rules just to keep everyone happy and to some degree you have to become the change you want to see. Women’s participation has increased because women have started participating, which is due to the initiative of women and is the best and only resolution.

    what about rock climbing? Woman are pretty much on par with men.

    Is that true? I just had a look and the gap is about two grades, with the hardest ascent by a woman being 9b and 9c for a man. That’s still a very big gap, not really par but then really who cares? Competition rock climbing isn’t really what climbing is about.

    Premier Icon mattsccm
    Free Member

    Would it not make more sense to just have people catergorised as how they were born? Forget any rdidiculosly rare exception as you cannot have allowances for everyone. If you happen to be the odd one out then life is tough but there are plenty of sports that allow anyone to compete. If you chose to be different you should have to deal with the consequences. Taken to a logial next stage we will be having classes for fat knackers because they can’t keep up with fit people but because it is “their right” to live that way we should all take them into account. The world had gone mad.

    Premier Icon kelvin
    Full Member

    If you chose to be different you should have to deal with the consequences.

    🤦🏻‍♂️

    “There should be a separate category for trans athletes” Yeah, and at nearly every race there would be nobody in that category, or someone would have to race themselves.

    The prevalence of trans folks who are also elite athletes is much less common than the media or the general discourse would have you believe. In mountain biking it’s maybe two or three riders out of a participant base of millions.

    The stuff about keeping discrimination out of sport also rings very hollow – outside of womens’s downhill, how many pro cyclists are openly gay?

    Premier Icon judetheobscure
    Free Member

    The stuff about keeping discrimination out of sport also rings very hollow – outside of womens’s downhill, how many pro cyclists are openly gay?

    I think you’re in danger of conflating one aspect of discrimination where there is zero potential for someone to have an unfair advantage, i.e. sexual preference, with another in which the question is at best indeterminate. I totally understand and recognise where you’re coming from with that statement, but I’m not sure it’s a valid contrast.

    Until we are able to unanimously determine one way or another whether exposure to testosterone in puberty does indeed confer an advantage then we will always have doubt hanging over how fair trans women’s participation in female only events is. And until we do, then we absolutely should continue to debate and discuss it.

    On another note, a not all men are stronger than all women, there’s significant overlap between the sexes that are driven by genetics. Some women have the ability to train and develop muscle mass in excess of men (and some of those women may well end up transitioning to a male gender identity) and would be at a distinct advantage over those men in strength based competitions.

    Of course the real problem here is that we are so hung up on eugenics when it comes to elite level sport in the first place, but that’s a whole other ball game.

    It’s all about inclusivity, isn’t it? It seems they’re not doing a great job for either trans or gay folk at the moment. You can have all the diversity and inclusivity policies you like but what does it say if you fail to implement them, or throw them in the bin at the first whiff of a public controversy?

    Premier Icon theotherjonv
    Full Member

    There is only one sport I am good at, but if I were to become a woman there is a very real chance I would be world champion. My 49th in the mens category would have been 3rd in the womens last time. This would understandably (I expect) upset the women who compete at that level, people would definitey notice and would care, at that level the skills are on par but strength and power would give me a huge advantage.

    You wouldn’t have the same strength and power if you underwent extensive hormone treatment to feminize your appearance. Particularly if you genuinely wanted to properly feminize your appearance.

    You might retain some advantages, but so far the evidence doesn’t suggest it is that great, specifically how many TG women are really participating at the top of the top levels. Read my earlier posts, and also the Pippa York cafe ride video.

    Yes there’s a chance that someone somewhere will dose just enough to pass the hormone level test but maximise the retention of male characteristics. Again, not happening yet.


    @mattsccm
    . Really? A ‘choice’? Shall I tell my son he’s just made a bad one; he won’t leave his room currently because he’s a got ‘woman’s problems’, and if he’d just chosen differently he’d be happier?

    Premier Icon kelvin
    Full Member

    Yes there’s a chance that someone somewhere will dose just enough to pass the hormone level test but maximise the retention of male characteristics.

    I expect, again sport depending, that the hormone level tests will come to require lower levels and for a longer period of time, to prevent this. The sporting organisations have a lot of learning and adapting to do. They won’t learn anything with blanket bans/responses. Some don’t want them to even be looking into it though… and that’s not from concerns about fairness, and all about prejudice and/or misunderstanding, I strongly suspect. Easier to wave about the idea of banning all trans-women from all women’s categories in all sports… like our Prime Minister… easy to understand… doesn’t require much thinking… doesn’t require any work from sporting organisation… superficially “fair”… and doesn’t require trying to look past our own prejudices and/or misunderstandings.

    Premier Icon billoddie
    Full Member

    On another note, a not all men are stronger than all women, there’s significant overlap between the sexes that are driven by genetics. Some women have the ability to train and develop muscle mass in excess of men (and some of those women may well end up transitioning to a male gender identity) and would be at a distinct advantage over those men in strength based competitions.

    Yes, some incredibly strong women might be stronger than some fairly weak men in a strength based competition.

    However, strength based competitions don’t tend to work like that as they are self selecting in favour of strong people.

    For example if you compare powerlifting WRs:
    <table class=”resp-tab”>
    <tbody>
    <tr>
    <td class=”right wclass”>-59kg</td>
    <td class=”left name”>Fedosienko Sergei</td>
    <td class=”left team”>Russia</td>
    <td class=”right dob”>1982</td>
    <td class=”right bwt”>58.48</td>
    <td class=”right result”>669.5</td>
    <td class=”center date”>2016-06-24</td>
    <td>Killeen / U.S.America</td>
    </tr>
    </tbody>
    </table>
    with
    <table class=”resp-tab”>
    <tbody>
    <tr>
    <td class=”right wclass”>-63kg</td>
    <td class=”left name”>Bavoil Prescillia</td>
    <td class=”left team”>France</td>
    <td class=”right dob”>1993</td>
    <td class=”right bwt”>62.86</td>
    <td class=”right result”>548.0</td>
    <td class=”center date”>2021-09-30</td>
    <td>Halmstad / Sweden</td>
    </tr>
    </tbody>
    </table>
    I went up a weight class for the women as the weight classes don’t exactly line up.

    I’m fairly sure any Male sport where speed, strength and power is even a moderate factor is pretty safe from Female to Male Transgender athletes.

    Premier Icon lamp
    Free Member

    It’s just not fair is it really.

    A biological man competing against a biological woman regardless of hormone replacement will always have an advantage.

    If you want to compete, you should have to compete at your born gender.

    Premier Icon theotherjonv
    Full Member

    No lamp.

    It just isn’t like that, if you can take the time to actually listen.

    Look at the Pippa York cafe ride from about 19 mins. A proper elite level rider being open about what it’s really like.

    Premier Icon kelvin
    Full Member

    A biological man competing against a biological woman regardless of hormone replacement will always have an advantage.

    Luckily people are actually researching and testing this, across different sports, not just going with their gut reaction. Lots to learn still. But refusing to learn is a temptation that I hope sporting organisations will resist. It’ll be difficult though, as, like in everything, the overwhelming majority of people they work for are not trans… and of them the majority are happy with the shoulder shrugging “ban them no matter what”, or “doesn’t effect me, so I’d rather not concern myself with this” persuasion, understandably.

    Premier Icon theotherjonv
    Full Member

    meanwhile

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/apr/08/trans-people-mental-health-crisis-point-uk-warn-experts

    and specifically as the uninformed refuse to try to become informed and just keep saying how simple it is…..

    “There is strong evidence that minorities experience greater levels of stress when their rights are being debated,” said Dr Adam Jowett, the chair of the British Psychological Society’s Sexualities Section.

    Premier Icon poah
    Free Member

    It’s all about inclusivity, isn’t it?

    But not to the detriment of others.

    Premier Icon lamp
    Free Member

    @poah – exactly. Men competing as women will mean some women athletes losing out on prize money, sponsorship and a livelihood because they’re competing against someone who is physically stronger / more athletic.

    You can’t start trying to ‘level the playing field’ (pun intended!) by balancing hormones etc.Who would want to partake in that and who would pay for it?

    Biology has 2 sexes, keep it simple.

    Women are losing out on sponsorship deals to trans athletes? Really?

    On the subject of “balancing hormones”, athletes born female are under no obligation to disclose what their hormone levels are. Trans athletes, on the other hand…

    Premier Icon squirrelking
    Free Member

    Biology has 2 sexes, keep it simple.

    Except, as pointed out several times over the course of just this thread, it’s not that simple.

    Premier Icon eskay
    Full Member

    There is one particular recent case that has probably prompted this statement. I am quite familiar with it because my son raced with the athlete in question at youth and junior level and as a junior male they were incredibly strong and competed at a very high level.

    They are now wanting to compete as a woman and there has been a large backlash amongst the female competitors including a potential boycott of a national championships.

    It is an increbly difficult and delicate situation and I have no idea what the correct answer is.

    Premier Icon ScotRoutes
    Full Member

    Biology has 2 sexes, keep it simple.

    There are a few chromosonal variations affecting a very small number of people that can make this into a non-binary situation. To be fair though, that’s not (afaik) an issue in the recent British Cycling case, nor any of the other recent, high profile examples. As these variations can be detected by simple testing it shouldn’t be too difficult to create a rule accommodating them. Of course, it then becomes an invasion of privacy issue but regular testing is something that elite athletes have to submit to in any case.

    Premier Icon cookeaa
    Full Member

    Perhaps there’s a simpler solution, rather than banning TG participants from various competitive sports, we just ban competitive sport…

    It only serves to bring out the worst in our species engendered corruption and gambling, providing incentives for participants to cheat or take PEDs where disproportionate wealth gets attached to a sport.

    Worst of all professional/competitive sport ends up overriding basic human decency in how we treat people who have probably been through a fair bit personally up to that point so let’s take away the opportunity for everyone, TG or otherwise, to emotionally and physically damage themselves in the name of competition…

    If we’re going to pick on or choose to “disadvantage” any group I think it should be “winners” those selfish, boarder-line sociopathic people for whom a shiny medal and affirmation of worth is attached to their ability to kick a ball, run fast or pedal quicker than the next chromosomally and physiologically similar mammal…

    Premier Icon ScotRoutes
    Full Member

    Another random thought…

    We have categories of physical disability enabling folk to compete right up to Paralympic level, but nothing similar for those with affected by their mental health.

    Premier Icon judetheobscure
    Free Member

    Except, as pointed out several times over the course of just this thread, it’s not that simple.

    Biologically speaking it almost is. The frequency of intersex chromosones is so vanishingly small that we can, to all intents and purposes, remove it from the equation.

    Sociologically and psychologically speaking it is a very different, complex and, as I have experienced at very close quarters, painful problem. But however painful that may be, and for as real as the personal experience of gender dysphoria is, it does not negate the underlying biological imperative.

    Again, to restate the problem, this is very simply an issue of whether exposure to testosterone during puberty leaves any lasting enhancement to an individual once they transition and start to reduce their testosterone levels.

    We simply do not know the answer to that question and until we do (and likely we will never know it), then there will always be people who feel trans women have an advantage. And considering that entry into all elite level competition is predicated on accidents of birth (i.e. genetics), the sooner we realise that all advantages are inherently unfair the better.

    but nothing similar for those with affected by their mental health

    True but it depends on your definition of mental health as cognitive impairment is, I think, recognised in the classifications for the paralympics.

    Premier Icon BruceWee
    Full Member

    Biologically speaking it almost is. The frequency of intersex chromosones is so vanishingly small that we can, to all intents and purposes, remove it from the equation.

    Depends what you mean. If you mean people who are born intersex and identified as female but effectively go through male puberty then the number is very small. Caster Semenya’s case shows that you can’t just ignore it though

    However, the number of people who could be classed as intersex is about the same as the number of people who are transgender (estimates are 1-2%). Most probably won’t gain a competitive advantage from this.

    Premier Icon chrismac
    Full Member

    Biologically speaking it almost is. The frequency of intersex chromosones is so vanishingly small that we can, to all intents and purposes, remove it from the equation.

    Exactly. This is what it needs to come back to. The rest is just noise  and peoples choices that come with consequences

    Premier Icon thecaptain
    Free Member

    I’ve said it before and it doesn’t seem a popular view but I think the situation with respect to intersex/DSD athletes is similar.

    If we want a protected class of athletes called “women” where the vast majority of women feel they fit, and see “someone like them” winning, then we need to define “woman” in such a way as to exclude a fair number of minority cases. Who will themselves be hurt by this decision.

    In athletics in recent years it’s not that unusual to see someone who basically appears to be a strong male youth running in amongst a bunch of women.

    I know it’s not the same thing as transgender, but the issues seem basically the same to me. What is a woman, in a sporting context?

    Premier Icon BruceWee
    Full Member

    I know it’s not the same thing as transgender, but the issues seem basically the same to me. What is a woman, in a sporting context?

    It is an interesting question. People tend to focus on women who have an advantage due to their entirely natural sexual characteristics but it’s worth remembering that it can also work the other way. People with Klinefelter syndrome, for example, are effectively excluded from competing against people with similar levels of testosterone to themselves.

    I think this debate is good for people to question what we are actually trying to achieve with women’s sport and what is the real cause of the performance differences between men and woman.

    If we look at Downhill, I would say that most of the difference in times we see between the women’s and men’s field is cultural rather than physical. I think it mostly comes down to the fact that fewer women are encouraged to do competitive sport in general and this is especially true in Downhill.

    Premier Icon supernova
    Free Member

    I’ve got a TERF streak I just don’t seem to be able to let go of. My immediate, instinctual response to cases like this is to think that it’s blokes of a different kind still making life difficult for women. Thinking about it harder I can see it’s not that simple and I’m much more sympathetic, but still a large part of me wants to say go and do something else if you want to go down this path that’s understandably so important to you. I imagine most ordinary trans women must get annoyed at all the drama cases like this bring to their lives. However, having said all that I know that the younger, radical trans rights activists will be proved correct, just as feminists, gay rights and anti-racists have been over the past few generations. I wonder what problem the next generation will struggle to deal with in the way Gen Xers like me have with this one. My guess is body modding, their kids popping their eyes out for cameras or something.

    Premier Icon mattsccm
    Free Member

    But why this?
    🤦🏻‍♂️
    Surely this is real life not every selfish idiot wanting their own way?
    If you chose to step away from the norm you are welcome to do so but why expect the rest of the world to change for you? It doesn’t matter what the situation. Personal choice is yours but don’t inflict it on the rest of us.

    Premier Icon theotherjonv
    Full Member

    You make it sound like a choice between peas or beans for tea. It’s not a choice in that respect, it’s a necessity for those affected by it.

    Why do we make allowances for others in society? Because it’s the mark of a decent civilised society.

    I agree that if someone was transitioning just to be competitive then that wouldn’t be right, but once again the overwhelming evidence is that this is not happening. The very few people that are both TG and elite athletes are first and foremost the former and accept the impact that their treatments have on their competitiveness, particularly when the dose rates are sufficient to feminize (let’s be honest this is almost exclusively a MTF TG issue) rather than ‘just enough to pass the testosterone test’ .

    As I’ve suggested before look at the Pippa York cafe ride on p1, spend 15 mins listening and maybe you might rethink.

    In the end I don’t think a blanket inclusion or exclusion will work, but the ‘there’s two sexes, that’s all we need for competition and anything else is a choice with consequences’ is quite offensive.

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