British Cycling doesn’t care about women

British Cycling is notoriously uninterested in the women’s sport, or in the views of female cyclists.

Their draft Transgender and Non-binary Participation policy is breathtaking in its determination to prioritise the needs of men who identify as women over those of natal females. For example, staff and volunteers are required to:

  • Accept all Participants in the gender they present; verification of their identity should be no more than expected of any other person;
  • If asked, explain that there are no restrictions for Transgender and Non-Binary Participants taking part in Recreational Activity;
  • Support the Transgender or Non-Binary Participant with their choice of changing facilities.

Along with many of Merched Cymru’s members, we contacted British Cycling to point out that this policy would have a detrimental impact on female cyclists at all levels. We said:

We are very concerned that British Cycling has appeared to ignore not only women’s rights in competitive sports, but also the (evidence-based) science – such as that used by World Rugby – in allowing natal males who identify as transgender or non-binary to participate in women’s cycling.

The biological advantage of these cyclists who have gone through male puberty could undermine the efforts of female competitors as it puts women at a disadvantage, and does not uphold the principle of fair or safe competition. Denying women a fair opportunity to take part in single-sexed sport may drive females out of cycling, and could negatively impact on excellent initiatives such as your Breeze programme, designed to create a supportive and encouraging environment for women cyclists. With three times as many men than women cycling for fun, creating unfairness in this gender-affected sport could prove to be counterproductive – and exclusionary to women.

The response, from CEO Julie Harrington, was dismissive:

The core aim of the policy is to illustrate the requirements of enabling participation and creating a welcoming and inclusive environment at all levels of the sport.

Welcoming and inclusive for men that is.

The consultation ends on Friday 30th. We suspect they aren’t listening but please let them know your views. This information from Legal Feminist may be useful in responding to the consultation.