July 3, 2022

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Transgender cyclist threatened after remarks by Boris Johnson

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Transgender cyclist Emily Bridges says she was threatened with ‘take a knee’ after comments made by Boris Johnson.

The 21-year-old made headlines in March when she was barred from competing against Dame Laura Kenny at the British National Omnium Championships.

The sport’s governing body had ruled that she was not eligible to compete.

Mr Johnson had fallen into the latter debate when he said ‘biological men should not compete in the women’s sport’.

His comments caused an ‘avalanche’ of abuse, with Bridges fearing for his safety.

“The reaction after that was as expected,” she told ITV.

‘I was threatened with physical violence against me by complete strangers online and I’m very scared about being in public.

‘People have a right to have an opinion about it, but there is a way to express that opinion and not a way to threaten me to kneel.’

Retrieved from Facebook/University of Nottingham Emily Bridges https://www.facebook.com/UoNSport/photos/?ref=page_internal

Emily Bridges says she feared for her safety when Johnson opposed her racing (Picture: Facebook)

He said the issue was a topic Mr Johnson “knew nothing about”.

At the time, he said: ‘It just seems sensible to me.’

‘I also think that there should be places for women – whether in hospitals or prisons or in changing rooms or anywhere – that are dedicated to women.

‘This does not mean that I am not highly sympathetic to those who want to change gender, to transition and it is important that we give people the maximum possible love and support in making those decisions.’

Bridges faced backlash after some claimed that, as she competed in the men’s race a month earlier, she should be barred from entering the women’s leg of the British National Omnium Championships.

Welsh cyclist Emily Bridges poses as a transgender woman in October 2020 (Picture: ITV)

The event will be the 21-year-old’s debut in the women’s race.

She had gone through hormone replacement therapy which meant that her testosterone levels had fallen within the limits set by British Cycling.

In relation to the recent men’s race, she said, ‘Maybe it was not the right thing to do.’

‘I wanted to do it because I wanted to keep my skills sharp. Immediately after coming off the track, I was like “I wish I hadn’t done this” because I knew what was coming.’

A British Cycling spokesperson has told ITV News that an update on the review of its transgender and non-binary participation policy will be issued soon.

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