response to british cycling’s decision to ban trans athletes from competing
On Friday 26th May, British Cycling announced a new policy that effectively banned trans women from competing in the female category at elite levels. This follows their suspension of their ‘Transgender and Non-Binary Participation Policy’ to conduct a review into these processes for trans+ athletes.
Announced today, the updated policy from British Cycling includes two different categories; ‘Female’ and ‘Open’. The ‘Female’ category excludes anyone who was not assigned female at birth from competing, whilst transgender women, men and non-binary individuals will only be eligible to compete in the ‘Open’ category, alongside anyone who was assigned male at birth.
These new categories come with a multitude of issues, one of the big ones being that trans men who are yet to start their hormone replacement journey, are forced to compete in the ‘Female’ category. These changes to the categories also mean that trans athletes cannot compete in any women’s races, such as British cyclist, Emily Bridges.
Emily, who was last year banned from competing in the National Omnium Championships, is the highest-profile trans women in UK cycling and has criticised the British Cycling’s decision on a statement shared to her instagram profile;
View this post on Instagram
Emily, who came out in 2020, has previously stated that her wish is to simply compete for Wales in the Commonwealth in the women’s categories. Emily has previously spoken about the challenges that come alongside being a visible figurehead whilst the toxic debate regarding trans-inclusion in sport is being stoked by the media and society as a whole.
Not A Phase Chief Exec, Dani St. James, said today of the decision “As we have proven over the last three years of running our fitness and wellness programme, Misfits, physical activity and the sense of comradery that comes with team participation can significantly improve the mental health of our community. It is incredibly saddening to see a governing body take such an active stance against us at a time where allyship is needed more than ever. We stand strong with Emily and all of those that have been affected by this decision, trans+ people are being used as a distraction tactic in the UK from failing systems and failing leadership, there has never been a greater need for those that support us to speak up.”
Our Misfits fitness classes are aimed at trying to lower the barriers that trans+ adults face in entering and feeling comfortable in typical gym and workout spaces. It’s decisions like the one taken today that can severely affect these individual’s perception of themselves and furthers the narrative that they believe they do not belong in these spaces. A lot of the work we’ve done over the past 4 years has been trying to build up our Misfits confidence and promoting the idea that everyone has the right to feel confident, empowered and safe, whilst breaking the barriers down between trans+ people and the traditional gym or exercise environments.
Blanket bans of trans+ individuals and forcing them into categories that they do not align with or agree with is incredibly damaging to the community as a whole. Trans+ people deserve to enjoy sport and compete in the categories that their gender identity aligns with and we need our allies to stand up and defend those in the trans community!
UK Government vote to block the Scottish GRA Reform Bill in constitutional first!
The UK Government has this week voted to block the Scottish Gender Recognition Act (GRA) bill, which would have allowed individuals in Scotland to self-identify their gender. The bill would have made it easier for transgender and non-binary individuals to legally change their gender on official documents, such as passports and birth certificates.
The Scottish National Party (SNP), which introduced the bill, said that it would bring Scotland in line with other countries such as Ireland and Denmark, which already have similar laws. However, the UK Government, which has the power to veto legislation passed by the Scottish Parliament, voted against the bill, stating that it would have a negative impact on women’s rights. They also claim that it would undermine the rights of women and girls, and would make it harder to protect them from discrimination.
On the other hand, supporters of the bill argue that it would allow transgender and non-binary individuals to live their lives in a way that aligns with their gender identity, which is a basic human right. They also argue that the bill includes measures to protect the rights of women and girls, and that there is no evidence to suggest that transgender individuals pose a threat to them.
The decision to block the bill has caused a great deal of controversy, with many in Scotland expressing disappointment and frustration. The SNP has vowed to continue fighting for the rights of transgender and non-binary individuals, and has called on the UK Government to reconsider its decision. The SNP says that 25 to 35 people a year in Scotland are currently certified under the GRA, which they expect to rise to around 250 certificates issued in a year. The government is arguing that the GRA reform would contradict the Equalities Act, which applies to the entire UK. However, those in favour of the bill claim that the GRA reform does not affect the Equalities Act, highlighting that the Government is using trans people as ‘political football’.
As reported last week, The 2021 CENSUS data showed that trans people make up only 0.5% of our population, and trans men and women who can benefit from the Gender Recognition Reform Bill are only around 0.2%, which makes the claim that the GRA would contradict the Equalities Act and potentially harm the rights of women and girls even more absurd.
What Can You Do To Help?
– EMAIL YOUR LOCAL MP ABOUT THESE ISSUES
– ATTEND LOCAL DEMONSTRATIONS & PROTESTS ABOUT THIS ISSUE
– TALK TO FRIENDS, FAMILY AND COLLEAGUES ABOUT THIS ISSUE AND WHY ITS IMPORTANT TO YOU
– DONATE TO TRANS+ FRIENDLY CHARITIES TO HELP SUPPORT THIER LIVES