The mum of trans cyclist Emily Bridges has hit out at “hysteria” surrounding her daughter after an unnamed coach allegedly shared “misinformation and lies” about her.
Emily’s mum Sandy issued a statement on Twitter on Saturday (3 April) in which she sought to debunk some of the misinformation being circulated online.
“Somebody claiming to be a ‘British Cycling Coach’ is once again whipping up rhetoric about my daughter, cyclist Emily Bridges, by promoting misinformation and lies,” Sandy tweeted.
“Their objective, it would appear, is to whip up hysteria, by using this misinformation, and then encouraging people to cut and paste a template response to British Cycling’s consultation on their transgender policy.”
Sandy clarified that Emily has not been selected to compete at the Tokyo Olympics and that her route to the Olympics is not “being paved”, as some anti-trans commentators have claimed.
She also said Emily is “fully aware” of the rules surrounding transgender people’s participation in elite sports.
“Emily is not in contravention of any of these rules so please stop with the bulls**t,” she wrote, adding that she had highlighted the misinformation campaign to British Cycling officials and UK Sport.
Sandy’s statement comes just over a week after British Cycling announced that it was launching a consultation on transgender participation in the sport.
The consultation process is open to feedback from anyone. It will gather views from LGBT+ groups Stonewall, Gendered Intelligence, and Mermaids, as well as anti-trans pressure groups such as Fair Play for Women.
The British Cycling consultation process will remain open until 30 April, with responses analysed and considered after that date.
Trailblazing cyclist Emily Bridges came out as trans last year
Emily Bridges came out as trans in a powerful op-ed published by Sky Sports in October 2020 on National Coming Out Day.
In the article, Bridges opened up about “feeling isolated” from other children when she was growing up, and revealed that she always wanted to “dress in a feminine manner” but stopped herself from doing so because of her “deep sense of shame” surrounding her gender identity.
Following a series of injuries in 2018, Bridges’ mental health began to deteriorate and she became increasingly aware of the impact gender dysphoria was having on her.
“I knew that if I wanted to be happy, I would have to transition at some point. I began seeing a specialised therapist when my depression returned and my gender dysphoria was getting unbearable,” she wrote.
Emily Bridges opened up about the “hate and vitriol” she faced after coming out as trans on 31 March, Trans Day of Visibility, in an Instagram post.
She said she was “overwhelmed” by the “support and love” the majority of people gave her after she came out as trans, but said the hate is inescapable.
However, Bridges added: “The happiness and joy I have felt since I came out has been incredible, and I honestly feel the best I ever have. I’m so grateful to have my support network around me, and this has made these tough times easier.”
PinkNews has contacted British Cycling for comment.