Boris Johnson’s comments led to threats against me, says Emily Bridges | Bike
Transgender cyclist Emily Bridges believes Boris Johnson’s comments about whether she should race with women was the catalyst for a wave of violent threats and has also revealed she wants to compete in the Commonwealth Games this summer .
The 21-year-old Welsh athlete made headlines in March when her bid to compete in the British Open National Championships in the women’s category was thwarted at the 11th hour by world governing body UCI.
It sparked a debate that stretched beyond sport, with the Prime Minister intervening when he said: ‘I don’t think biological men should compete in women’s sporting events’ at a time when Bridges was already receiving many reviews on social media and from other competitors.
During an interview with ITV, Bridges said: “It’s really strange to see probably the most famous man in Britain talking about you and having an opinion about something he knows nothing about.
“The response after that was as expected, I had threats of physical violence made against me by complete strangers online. People are entitled to have an opinion on this, but there is a way to expressing that opinion – and threatening to bring me down on one knee is not like that.
“I’m often scared of being who I am in public. Will anyone recognize me? Those were real worries and it was a real fear I had after the comments were made. , and it was scary. I was scared.”
Some of those most vocal against Bridges’ potential inclusion in the March event pointed to the fact that she had competed in the men’s British Universities Championships points race a month earlier.
The cyclist admits in retrospect it may have been the wrong decision, but insisted it was made to ensure she remained competitive, particularly ahead of competing in the Derby Championships, which the British Cycling’s original rules on transgender participation allowed him to participate.
“It probably wasn’t the right thing to do,” Bridges admitted. “I wanted to do it because I wanted to keep my skills sharp. Immediately after I went off the track, I was like, “I wish I hadn’t done that” because I knew what was coming.
After the UCI intervened and refused to grant Bridges a license change, British Cycling suspended its transgender policy pending a review to “find a better answer”.
It meant any hopes the Welsh cyclist had of competing at the Commonwealth Games – where transgender women are allowed to compete in the women’s event – in Birmingham this summer have been dashed.
Bridges added: “I knew my main goal for the season, the Commonwealth Games, was out of the question then because I couldn’t race that event, and it was unlikely that I would be able to compete in any international events during the season. Deadline set by Welsh Cycling for the selection.
“So the Commonwealth Games were gone. I feel a real pride to be Welsh and I wanted to represent my country.