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British Cycling Members Warned Not to Criticize New Trans Policy

.. and urged to report behavior and language to the "Integrity and Compliance Department."

Bryndís Blackadder
Bryndís Blackadder

British Cycling members have been warned that they will be censored and reprimanded if they have any criticism of their newly updated 2020 “Transgender and Non-Binary Participation Policy.”

British Cycling is the lead governing body for cycling in Britain, with roles including picking and managing the British Cycling Team and representing Britain at the UCI (Union Cycliste Internationale) where they are involved in creating cycling regulation standards at all levels from amateur to the Olympics and Paralympics.

British Cycling creates race calendars for both competitive and non-competitive recreational cycling meets in Britain in the six main cycling disciplines. British Cycling sells memberships which include liability insurance and legal support and priority entry to ticketed events for members.

In reply to their Tweeted publication announcement the organization stated:

“We take a zero-tolerance approach to instances of hate being targeted at individuals because of their views or gender identity. This thread will be moderated, and if you're aware of inappropriate or offensive behavior by our members please email [email protected]

In section 7 of the “Transgender and Non-Binary Participation Policy” there is an Orwellian list of Members’ “Roles and Responsibilities” which demand people deny what their eyes see and accept everyone’s sex based solely on what they tell you to think:

“All Participants are bound by the British Cycling Code of Conduct and this should be upheld at all times.
However, in specific relation to this policy, all British Cycling employees, members, volunteers, affiliate clubs and Participants should:
• Welcome all Transgender and Non-Binary Participants, just as you would any other Participant;
• Treat all Transgender and Non-Binary Participants with dignity and respect, just as you would any other Participant;
• Respect the private and confidential nature of all Transgender and Non-Binary Participants’ situations and information;
• Accept all Participants in the gender they present; verification of their identity should be no more than expected of any other person;
• Report any incidents of inappropriate or offensive behaviour and language to the British Cycling Integrity and Compliance Department;
• Avoid making assumptions about the Participant, ask their name and take your lead from the information they may, or may not, offer you;
• Be clear about what language you use, all Participants should be referred to as the gender that they inform you they are;
• If asked, refer Transgender and Non-Binary Participants to this policy to understand the parameters in which they are able to take part in both Recreational Activity and Racing Competitions.”

Members are placed in a catch 22 when the guidance suggests that “British Cycling members are able to report any concerns… If British Cycling are notified of an individual who is taking advantage of the inclusive nature of this policy, or an individual who has been subject to any conduct which is in breach of the Code of Conduct due to their Gender Identity, the matter shall be considered under the British Cycling Disciplinary Regulations.”

How might a member flag up their concerns if they are previously warned in Section 7 that one must “Accept all Participants in the gender they present” on pain of being reported to the ominously titled “Integrity and Compliance Department”?

Under section 8 of the Trans and Non-Binary policy it states:

“British Cycling reserves the right to take the appropriate action under the British Cycling Disciplinary Regulations for breaches of this Policy including but not limited to:
Where there has been stigmatisation or discrimination against a Participant on the grounds of Gender Identity…”

Within the Disciplinary Regulations in “Misconduct” 3.1(l) it describes “verbal or physical abuse of any kind, including but not limited to comments written and/or shared on social media” with the table of recommended sanctions describing the fines for such behavior being between £25 and £250, and/or up to “1-year suspension of Licence and/or Membership and/or from participation in Events.”

How will members, volunteers and competitors navigate these rules when trying to raise legitimate concerns of fraudulent or unfair activities when challenging people is framed as potential abuse that could result in financial penalties?

In the British Cycling Handbook 2022 the organization acknowledges that one of the protected characteristics in the Equality Act 2010 is “belief,” which, thanks to Maya Forstater’s efforts, now includes “gender critical beliefs.” How does British Cycling not contravene this freedom of belief whilst threatening to punish and censor members or commentators for having criticism or personal opinions about the sex of participants, or the wording of their Inclusion documents?

Under the new rules men will be able to enter the women’s races on a self-declaration of their chosen “gender” and must provide evidence of lowered testosterone:

“1) A signed declaration from the individual that their Gender Identity is female, and they wish to compete in the female category.
2) An attestation from a Medical Professional that the member’s total testosterone level in serum has been less than 5 nmol/L continuously for a period of at least 12 months.”

It must be noted that 5nmol/l is double that of the “normal” highest level of testosterone for females.

For women to do the inverse and race with men, they must provide:

“1) A signed declaration that their Gender Identity is male, and they wish to compete in the male category.”

Self-declaration is all that is needed because British Cycling knows that women are no threat to fair competition in the male category. There is no mention here of regulations on the amount of testosterone women are allowed to dope with while racing as “men”.

As for “non-binary” identifying individuals, they are unsurprisingly treated either as their birth sex or as “transgender” if competing in the opposite sex category:

“Members who identify as Non-Binary may participate in the category that they feel most comfortable with (male or female). If this category is different to that associated to their Sex then the process and criteria applicable to their participation in that category shall be the same as for a Transgender member.”

When it comes to defining their terms British Cycling’s glossary states:

“Gender: the social, and cultural construction of what it means to be masculine or feminine, including roles, expectations, and behaviour. Usually assumed at birth to match the recorded sex.
Gender identity: a person’s internal, deeply felt sense of self, for example, male, a female, or nonbinary. A person’s gender identity may or may not correspond with their sex recorded at birth. Some people may not have a gender identity at all, including those people who may not believe in the concept of gender.”

In a baffling (but expected) move they then let a competitor’s “gender” take precedence over their biological sex when allowing them to race, even though they consider it a cultural concept of a selection of behaviors and internal self-perception. Races are physical, not philosophical, but in 2022 feelings continue to take precedence over facts.

Past and legitimate concepts of cruelties, such as intentional methods of interference with childrens’ maturation by adults (which are now somehow being tolerated in popular cultural discussion of “trans kids”) are mentioned within the wider British Cycling Handbook 2022 in which the new Transgender Policy was published. There is a section on child abuse, in which there is a definition of safeguarding as “Preventing impairment of children’s health or Development” and later under the heading of “Physical abuse” it lists:

“Examples in sport may be… where coaches encourage the use of drugs or harmful substances to enhance performance or delay puberty.” It may seem tangential, but the use of puberty blocking drugs and the introduction of cross-sex steroid hormones (such as testosterone) into a child’s recommended medical routine, are regularly advocated for use as “treatment” for “trans kids” by various LGBT and Transgender organizations, and even the NHS, as a form of “gender affirmative care”.

The contradictions within rulebooks and codes of conduct will multiply with more and more complex workarounds to comply with the will of political and ideological pressure. Safeguarding and rules will be bent to accommodate people based on their belief systems and not objective realities. Fair play is a secondary concern to the modern and corrupted concept of sportsmanship, where the aim of the game is to train riders to lie and take unfair defeat in silent submission.


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Bryndís Blackadder

Multimedia artist, writer, filmmaker, art director, analyst, researcher and human rights activist based in Scotland. Particularly interested in free speech and the law.