Trans women who used to compete as men take first and second in a new ‘non-binary’ race – leaving the young mom in third place
- The independent race was meant to be inclusive for trans and non-binary people
- It was won by Emily Bridges, who was pictured on stage on social media
- It comes amid a heated argument over trans rights in top sports like cycling
An ‘inclusive’ cycling race in which male trans athletes knocked off female competitors has been condemned by critics.
Friday’s event ended with two transgender women in first and second place, with a young mother in third place.
Gold in the ThunderCrit race at Herne Hill cycling track in south-east London went to Emily Bridges, a trans rider who was banned from a women’s race in March and who had competed in men’s races the month before.
Emily Bridges won the race, followed by Lilly Chant and Jo Smith in third, but the photo sparked an outcry among gender critics on social media
Emily Bridges won the lightning race – she’s a trans athlete who was assigned male at birth
In second place was Lilly Chant who, despite identifying as female, is still identified as male in official records.
The tournament’s top-performing biological female, Jo Smith of Thanet, Kent, won bronze and celebrated with her rivals by posing on the podium with her young daughter.
A photo quickly spread on social media, sparking anger among female athletes and campaigners.
British Cycling, the governing body recently embroiled in the controversy surrounding trans competitors, said the event was independent and had not been involved in it.
Sharron Davies, who won silver at the 1980 Moscow Olympics and previously spoke out about trans athletes, said she was “deeply disappointed” at the news of the race.
Fiona McAnena, director of sports campaigns at Fair Play For Women, said: “It is inevitable that if we start allowing people who have gone through male puberty into the category intended for women, those people will outperform .
This is Emily Bridges before she started going through menopause and openly identifying as a woman
Ms Bridges was banned from racing against Dame Laura Kenny in March this year (pictured)
“Sport is based on your body, and we have a feminine category in most sports because male puberty has such a benefit and it’s a lifelong benefit. It cannot be undone.’
In an effort to come up with an “inclusive” event, the ThunderCrit organizers created two new non-binary races called “thunder” and “lightning.”
The website states: ‘The Thunder category is for cis males, non-binary people whose physical performance most closely resembles cis males, trans males and women whose physical performance most closely resembles cis males.
“Lightning category is for cis women, non-binary people whose physical performance matches cis women and trans men and women whose physical performance most matches cis women.”
Cis – or cisgender – describes a person who still identifies as the gender they were born with. Non-binary refers to people who say they are not just male or female.
Bridges and Chant took part in the lightning race despite Bridges being banned by British Cycling from racing against five-time Olympic gold medalist Dame Laura Kenny in March after international sporting bodies claimed she was ineligible.
British Cycling is now reviewing its transgender policy.