by Joan Smith
Thursday, 1
December 2022
Reaction
12:58

Emily Bridges’s wild claims go unchallenged on ITV

The cyclist linked critics of trans athletes to the Colorado Springs atrocity
by Joan Smith
Trans cyclist Emily Bridges.

Few subjects are as contentious as the involvement of trans athletes in women’s sport. Pictures of the transgender American swimmer Lia Thomas towering over female athletes on the podium are a vivid illustration of the unfairness of allowing biological men to compete alongside women.

Or are they? According to ITV Wales, it isn’t the women we should feel sorry for. Earlier this week, the channel broadcast a documentary about a trans cyclist who wants to race against female athletes. ‘Transgender cyclist Emily Bridges has opened up to ITV about her journey’, its Twitter account gushed. Beneath the tweet was a link to an interview with Bridges, which began uncompromisingly: ‘I’m a sister, a daughter, a partner, a friend, an athlete and a person.’


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A word about language here. It has become customary for stories about trans athletes (usually men who now ‘identify’ as women) to use their preferred nouns and pronouns, even when they have taken female hormones but remain biologically male. The argument that it’s kind to do so makes it harder for female athletes to protest that they’re expected to compete with individuals who have the advantages of male puberty and physique. 

ITV Wales was evidently unprepared for the response it received. ‘This is not news, it’s ideological promotion,’ the Wales Women’s Rights Network tweeted. ‘It’s not fair sport for females, it’s male entitlement.’ The original post was swiftly deleted but the link was posted again, this time with comments disabled. So much for the ‘debate’ we’re assured that supporters of trans rights want to see.

In an interview veering between self-pity and entitlement, Bridges claimed to be ‘heartbroken’ after being refused permission to ride for Wales as a woman in the Commonwealth Games. (British Cycling has suspended its policy on transgender athletes while it carries out a review.) Bridges also claimed to understand the anxieties of female athletes who don’t want to compete with biological males, but dismissed them because ‘I am not a man’. 

Not many people, one would guess, really believe that men can become women, but trans activists have created a climate where the fear of being labelled ‘transphobic’ inhibits honest responses. Bridges’s interview is an egregious example, linking criticism of trans participation in women’s sport with the murder of five people in an LGBTQ club in Colorado Springs last month. The deaths of two trans people in the attack ‘are directly related to dehumanisation and demonisation of trans people in the media, online, and in debates such as those about sports,’ the cyclist claimed.

It’s tempting to observe that ‘directly’ is doing a lot of work there, but it’s more important to ask whether anyone at ITV Wales actually read this piece of malevolent hyperbole before they tweeted a link. Doesn’t anyone at the channel feel uneasy about publishing a claim that female athletes who defend sex categories in sport are in some way responsible for the actions of a mass killer in the U.S.? (Someone who, according to his lawyers, identifies as ‘non-binary’ and uses they/them pronouns.)

When I started out as a journalist, there used to be this thing called ‘balance’. It’s been one of the principal victims of gender ideology, which appears to have persuaded sections of the media that treating opposing views with the seriousness they deserve is akin to encouraging murder. You have to admire the cheek: what other group is allowed to invade other people’s categories, police their language, and still represent themselves as helpless victims?

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Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
2 months ago

By continuing to refer to men as ‘she’ and ‘her’ we are complicit in maintaining the lie that a man can become a woman.
Perhaps we should stop being non-consensual partners in the sexual fantasies of deluded individuals?

Last edited 2 months ago by Julian Farrows
Phil Rees
Phil Rees
2 months ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

I never started, and will not, no matter what the pressure.

Arkadian X
Arkadian X
2 months ago

Well, that’s Wales for you. Had the interview been done in Scotland probably the individual in question would have been given the female athlete of the year award too.

Lindsay S
Lindsay S
2 months ago

Seeing an awful lot of, what I like to refer to as “dramatisation may not have happened” in the news these days. Like the charity boss who claims that being asked where in Africa that she comes from is “abuse” and “she was violated”. It was undoubtedly rude, but a violation? No wonder there is a distinct lack of resilience in young people today when the adults in the room are exaggerating every slight.

Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
2 months ago
Reply to  Lindsay S

Your comment implies that there are actual adults in any given room. I remain skeptical of that. Of course, if you mean physical adults who never grew up, took responsibility, and still act like whiny children, then yes, we have plenty of those.

Tom May
Tom May
2 months ago
Reply to  Lindsay S

Oh come on, it wasn’t even rude. We have to stop pandering to the lowest common denominator. Grow some b***s. People who want to be offended will be offended no matter what you do or say.

The thing that surprises me is that England has one party consent to recording devices – is that right?

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
2 months ago

“The deaths of two trans people in the attack ‘are directly related to dehumanisation and demonisation of trans people in the media, online, and in debates such as those about sports,’ the cyclist claimed.“

This attitude is where democracy goes to die. Sadly, it’s the go-to maneuver for many on the left – and for those whose arguments are so weak they can’t be defended.

Lancastrian Oik
Lancastrian Oik
2 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Couldn’t have put it better myself.

Graeme Kemp
Graeme Kemp
2 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

No everyone on the Left buys into this stuff, fortunately.

Paul Nathanson
Paul Nathanson
2 months ago
Reply to  Graeme Kemp

But what are they doing about it?

Samuel Gee
Samuel Gee
2 months ago
Reply to  Graeme Kemp

I’d argue that none of this nonsense is in the least bit left wing. Philosphically claiming that you can be who you choose to be is a completely individualistic idea. The Left in general is characterized by a belief that groups have competing economic interests. IE it’s about groups not individuals.

Andrew Dalton
Andrew Dalton
2 months ago

That assertion about the Colorado Springs shooting reminds me an awful lot of two recent famous interviews – Harry and Megan and Ronaldo. All make unsubstantiated claims not challenged by the interviewer. All examples of the interviewer using the interviewee to bounce agenda and narrative off.

What’s interesting here is that if somebody were to argue (let’s say J.K. Rowling) that opposing trans ideology is not causing mass shootings in the US, or at the very least that the claim is not proved, it would be challenged. This is a blatant inversion of the burden of proof; it is entirely incumbent of Bridges to provide evidence for that position.

This behaviour by the media is a large reason why people are angered by it. Alongside the lies of omission, it becomes abundantly clear the media will not challenge the narrative. The comments sections become polluted by angry posts because people are frustrated by the lack of challenge in one direction and the misrepresentation in the other.

A further consequence of this, is that those angry posts are then used as evidence of [trans/some-other-thing]phobia. The media get to have their cake and eat it.

As for biological men in women’s cycling. It’s clearly ridiculous. If anyone wants this, I’m interested if they would also allow legalising all PEDs in competition while we’re at it.

Last edited 2 months ago by Andrew Dalton
Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
2 months ago
Reply to  Andrew Dalton

I was removed from the Guardian comments years ago for linking to a peer-reviewed published paper that went agains their narrative. This was my first encounter with censorship and it shocked me at the time, because nothing I said was rude or inflammatory. In the past you could pretty much say anything as long as you remained friendly and polite, now you can be as obnoxious as you like as long as you keep to the narrative. I think this is why ‘wokeness’ is so popular for many people. It allows them to act as arseholes and be self-righteous about it.

Graeme Kemp
Graeme Kemp
2 months ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

‘No debate’ is sadly the mantra of many who promote ‘tolerance’….

Andrew Dalton
Andrew Dalton
2 months ago
Reply to  Graeme Kemp

Well, usually they say something like “we want to start a conversation about [x].”
What they actually mean is, “we want to lecture you about what you should think, say and do.”

Horton Nash
Horton Nash
2 months ago
Reply to  Andrew Dalton

You’re right. It’s Orwellian, calling a lecture a “conversation” gives the impression that both sides are having discussion, conversations are two-way, but that’s not what they do.
They use the word “conversation” to hide the fact that they are actually lecturing and hectoring you into agreeing with them, to the point of ignoring reality even when it is staring you in the face.
It’s the stuff of Room 101.

Janet G
Janet G
2 months ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

You have to be very cunning to get away with saying even the most obviously true thing on the Guardian. The censors are vigilant.

Arnold Grutt
Arnold Grutt
2 months ago
Reply to  Janet G

Neither the Guardian nor the BBC are respectable publishers. I left the Guardian, after forming the opinion that it was predominantly race-baiting filth these days. I haven’t quite managed to leave the BBC yet, but it might not be long. To read their non-banner pages now is almost an experience of wild comedy, though obviously not intended as such.

Last edited 2 months ago by Arnold Grutt
Graham Bennett
Graham Bennett
2 months ago
Reply to  Arnold Grutt

Yes, the BBC is fast becoming a partisan, woke media outlet beyond redemption, I believe. It is certainly no longer the world’s ‘trusted’ news source as it once might have claimed to be. It has been thoroughly captured by the interests of extreme Left identitarian politics. Only a few years ago I would have gone to the ramparts to defend the public funding of the BBC – not now. I couldn’t care less if it disappeared tomorrow. Politically, it’s on very thin ice.

Jonathan Nash
Jonathan Nash
2 months ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

Yes your last sentence captures it very neatly.

Ted Ditchburn
Ted Ditchburn
2 months ago
Reply to  Andrew Dalton

I think the media, which makes much of the supposed forelock tugging past somewhere in the 1950’s to which ‘nobody would wish to return’, to validate their behaviour has moved from a justifiable position of being adversarial towards the present one of being over-adversarial.
This has come about primarily because of the feedback loops that arose very quickly between MSM, or legacy Print, TV and Radio newsrooms, and social media.
The use of *trending* and *most likes* to drive newsroom judgements has become universal at a time when all newsrooms have become hollowed out, with many almost ceasing to exist as more and more titles become Potemkin type publications.
The Guardian, all through the time I worked for it (as a freelance) was vaguely the soft-left, slightly smug, home of the public sector, teachers, and social workers.
As all that advertising from their huge job ad driven supplements evaporated they, like almost every other title and broadcast newsroom have almost been driven by algorithims toward more and more necessarily adversarial journalism ..the same would (will) apply to the Mail when a Lab govt gets in.
This is because the digital world has no geographic boundaries or limits (and endlessly favours monol. And right now the Guardian probably sees it’s most dangerous business competitors as the equally silo-ed NYT, and CNN, as the different forms of Print, broadcast, video etc continue to converge into a single commercial space.
Rant/tedious lecture over…I do think though this is why we have such a hyper accelerated news cycle in which events are seen as of historical importance by some, trivial by others, but none last more than half a day before we get the next big thing.
Basically we get the media we deserve.

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
2 months ago
Reply to  Ted Ditchburn

They are hopefully in their death-throes. I would rather have no news than outrage news.

Margaret Bluman
Margaret Bluman
2 months ago

The media in Wales appears to have been completely taken in by this nonsense, promoted of course by Mark Drakesford. However, sporting bodies are slowly waking up to the consequences for women in their sports if they allow this idiocy the continue. Mediocre men will continue to complain that it’s unfair.

Ted Ditchburn
Ted Ditchburn
2 months ago

I feel we also must treat the surge of trans men into men’s sports with the same urgency…. ?
What do you mean ‘There are zero male rugby players worried about trans men prop forwards weighing in at 13 stone and 5foot 9 battering them to bits in the ruck?

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
2 months ago

There must be now be enough trans people for them to run their own sporting competitions.

Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
2 months ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

There aren’t and never will be. This whole trans-ideology nightmare is a tiny fraction of the overall population. It’s probably less than 1% of the population. Why else would they try so hard to push their ideology on children if not to increase their numbers.

Margaret Gohn
Margaret Gohn
2 months ago
Reply to  Steve Jolly

Among people under 30 – people who identify as trans or non-binary are 5% of the population. So at my high school – that would have been 62 students.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2022/06/08/pew-research-trans-nonbinary-young-adults/
Some places it’s higher than that.

Last edited 2 months ago by Margaret Gohn
Horton Nash
Horton Nash
2 months ago
Reply to  Margaret Gohn

”Non-binary” is little more than a nebulous category that allows teenage girls and young women to pretend that they’re interesting and importantly not one of those oppressive cis- white heterosexuals that they’re being conditioned to treat as beneath contempt.

Richard Parker
Richard Parker
2 months ago
Reply to  Horton Nash

Horribly true. A place on the victimhood spectrum is the “tri-wizard cup” for a lot of people, it seems.
Non binary comes from the same song sheet as “queer” – effectively non-definable, beyond a simple desire to subvert prevailing norms for attention and popular kudos. Once it became popular, it became marketable. And as soon as its marketability reached a critical threshold… well, we know the rest.

Nancy G
Nancy G
1 month ago
Reply to  Richard Parker

Helen Joyce says that we are ALL non-binary: it means having a personality.

Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
2 months ago
Reply to  Margaret Gohn

Devil’s in the details, though. What, precisely, does non-binary mean. Does that include bisexuality/homosexuality, which is an entire separate discussion as last time I checked, there aren’t a crowd of lesbians/gay men trying to compete in the sports of the other genders. Also, are we talking about adding one extra category, or two, one each for trans men and trans women. Title IX would seem to apply, would it not? Even if in some places there might be mathematically viable numbers for two categories, there’s more to consider, like costs. If it were all paid for by the parents of trans kids, it’s fine, but it won’t be. It will be paid out of the pockets of taxpayers and/or the parents of the vast majority of ordinary students who have no issue competing with and against people of their sex at birth. I’m sorry but this is all quite ridiculous. I can only accept so much idiocy and extraneous expense for the sake of the fragile feelings of teenagers. I’d rather eliminate all public school sports than dump money down this particular hole.

Richard Parker
Richard Parker
2 months ago
Reply to  Steve Jolly

Non binary deliberately defies definition – which makes it more intriguing to the soft headed and therefore more desirable in the silos where they congregate.
Ditto “que*r” (asterisked to try and avoid vexatious moderator bots). “Whatever you think I am, that’s what I’m not, but I arrogate the right to clarify further”. Adolescent tosh that we’re forced to take seriously.

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
2 months ago
Reply to  Steve Jolly

1% of the population is 700,000 people – easily enough for them to run their own sporting competitions.

Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
2 months ago
Reply to  Richard Craven

So long as it is not financed by taxpayers, they are more than welcome to organize whatever they like.

Richard Parker
Richard Parker
2 months ago
Reply to  Steve Jolly

Well said, sir.

jmo
jmo
2 months ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

They don’t want that. They call that “segregation”, piggy backing off black people’s experiences in America. The name of the game is “validation” – if we let them in the sexed category they don’t belong in then they’ve won. It’s a pure power play, the sport in question is besides the point.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
2 months ago

Guess which women’s sports we won’t see transgendered men participating in – professional tennis and the LPGA. This garbage won’t be tolerated in any sport where the female athlete has actual power, where the athlete is bigger and more powerful than the men organizing the event.

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
2 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Can’t wait to see transwomen competing in women’s World Cup football. Might make it worth watching.

Simon McQueenie
Simon McQueenie
2 months ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

Lovely cheap shot at women’s football.

Will Rolf
Will Rolf
2 months ago

The World Champion US Women’s Soccer team was trounced in a match with a high school boy’s soccer team. Males have a huge advantage in many if not all sports.

Ted Ditchburn
Ted Ditchburn
2 months ago

women’s football can produce better games than men’s football, or ones that are every bit as good…eg in the Euros lasy summer, and the women’s super league.
But women know better than anybody that their game is different in many ways from men’s football because of the different strength and size levels.
I first *woke up* to the problem reading a light hearted tweet from a rugby coach of a women’s team a couple of years ago saying ‘Just been watching Rachel deckchairing everyone during training…’
Having played some rugby I know what deckchairing is..a big player smashing players the same size is bad enough..a 6′ 2″, 17 stone player smashing 5′ 9″, 10 stone ones wouldn’t be folding a ‘deckchair’ it would be smashing them to bits with a sledgehammer.
I have to say the problems just didn’t occur to me before I read that tweet..they looked blindingly obvious as soon as I did.

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
2 months ago

But true!

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
2 months ago

To be fair, I don’t watch male soccer either.

Carol Forshaw
Carol Forshaw
2 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Or gymnastics or ice dance. This has simply become a way for mediocre male athletes in sports such as cycling or swimming to fantasise that they are now winners. It is all part of their self delusion. Women should simply refuse to compete against these transwomen in such sports.

Matt M
Matt M
2 months ago

When I started out as a journalist, there used to be this thing called ‘balance’.

I well remember the BBC saying that they would no longer represent sceptical views about “global warming” on news stories. It went pretty much unchallenged.
This is where it led!

Horton Nash
Horton Nash
2 months ago
Reply to  Matt M

It was an over-correction of their previous policy that had them inviting utter loons on as the “dissenting voice”. It has, of course, led to a swing the other way, no doubt helped by the kinds of people currently in favour when hiring for the news team, and issues where there are interesting and nuanced discussions to be had are treated as settled (like abortion, climate change and public health policy)

Andrea Heyting
Andrea Heyting
2 months ago

Instead of furthering trans rights, high profile stories like this will continue to wake the rest of the population up, and will cause a backlash against trans people.
Various sports’ governing bodies are starting to produce sensible policies, thank goodness.
Excellent piece, thank you Joan.

Last edited 2 months ago by Andrea Heyting
N Forster
N Forster
2 months ago

These type of accusations are common now: That if you believe “this” you are responsible for “that.” It is toxic blend of histrionics and controlling behaviour and it can be highly effective.
Having been in a relationship with a toxic, self pitying, controlling person, I can tell you, appeasement is a big mistake. What you have to realise is it is not possible to avoid confrontation in these situations.

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
2 months ago
Reply to  N Forster

“appeasement is a big mistake”
Damn right. We really do need to start being extremely unpleasant to the woke.

Richard Parker
Richard Parker
2 months ago
Reply to  Richard Craven

Quite so – what was Churchill’s analogy again? “Feeding the crocodile in the hope he’ll eat you last”, I think?
There are no neutrals on these issues any more and we’re kidding ourselves if we think otherwise.

nigel taylor
nigel taylor
2 months ago
Reply to  Richard Parker

Mantioning Churchill reminds me what happened to them in Nazi Germany. You’d have thought that they’d want to keep a low profile nowadays.

Phil Rees
Phil Rees
2 months ago
Reply to  Richard Craven

100% agree, and that means refusing to play any of their games. That incudes refusing to play the pronouns game, and refusing any unconscious bias training you may be invited to.

Last edited 2 months ago by Phil Rees
Ted Ditchburn
Ted Ditchburn
2 months ago

New reporting has become rudderless because commonsense…as in broadly and commonly accepted views about reality is given the same status as any alternative views.
For many years commonsense has been presented as the ludicrous beliefs of drab, dim people stuck in the past from which any self respecting nice, progressive liberal wants to lead the charge to liberate us into whatever clever idea they have hit on.
Mass amnesia has caused us to forget that advocating for sex to be legal at 10 yrs old was quite widely accepted by very mainstream progressive types and the edgy idea that it could even be as a low as 4 yrs old for chin scratchers involved.
Trans people deserve respect and the same chance to live their lives as peacefully and unhindered as anyone else. But the conflict of competing rights, between mainly women and Trans men, has to be recognised within this.
Trying to batter on as if these clear conflicts are minor aspects, as is happening in Scotland right now, is ludicrous.
And you can be sure that as many progressive,woke, ‘nice’ middle class people will be trying as hard to forget they ever supported the activist end of the Trans agenda as worked to forget they ever gave house room to PIE and the others 40 years ago.
Same goes for the nonsense that is Critical Race Theory and anything else used to divide common-sense people from each other these days.

Jane Walsh
Jane Walsh
2 months ago

« You have to admire the cheek: what other group is allowed to invade other people’s categories, police their language, and still represent themselves as helpless victims?« 
Exactly.

Nikki Hayes
Nikki Hayes
2 months ago

To me, the answer to the desires of born males to compete in female sports is simple – there should be three categories: men, women and open, the open category whereby anyone of either sex can compete. Triathlon already has an open category and this seems to me to be the way to go to satisfy all parties – except of course those men who are pretending they are women and insisting on their rights to compete against biological women. This, in my opinion, is cheating – plain and simple. Look at Lia Thomas – he was an indifferent swimmer as a male but as a “female” started winning races. As I understand it, now he deliberately slows down so as not to look too much faster than the women. Its a travesty that more sporting bodies need to deal with stat.

T. Lister
T. Lister
2 months ago

A man blaming women for a shooting in CO b/c the women don’t want men competing and cheating in women’s sport. And Oh the heartbreak women have caused him. These males who impersonate women are utterly self-centered and narcissistic. Their sense of entitlement and lack of insight for the feelings of others is stunning.
And their weapon of choice to get their way is to shout ‘transphobia’ and that ends the matter. How about this: Many of us don’t care what you call us, your ‘transphobia’ epithet will not silence us. You can compete as a male in the male category but stay the heck out of women’s spaces. Women were not historically denied rights b/c they ‘identified’ as women but b/c they were women. Women have fought hard for their rights and opportunities and you are not going to take them. Stay in your lane and have some self-respect.

Last edited 2 months ago by T. Lister
Catch 22
Catch 22
2 months ago

Rather than discuss, bullies yell at. Just by existing, I am racist, misogynistic, homophobic, transphobic, Islamaphobic, and whatever the next fad will be.

Just because I hold others to the same standard as I hold myself. I am growing tired of being bullied

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
2 months ago

As a cannibal myself, I find that trans cook better as they tend to have more natural fat.

David Pogge
David Pogge
1 month ago

The belief that someone is something that they are not is a very serious mental disorder, whether that belief is that they are really a bluebird, Napoleon Bonaparte, or that they are not of their real biological sex. It is a severe disturbance of one’s sense of identity and sense of reality, and obviously a reflection of deep confusion and distress. However, one cannot help such individuals by feeding them bird seed, calling them Emperor, or referring to men as she or women as he. We do not help a person come to terms with who they are or resolve a delusional belief by pretending that their belief is true. In fact, doing so is the worst form of cruelty that seems to be perpetrated and fomented by those who do not really care about these troubled and tortured individuals, but instead care about their political ideologies and their desire to elevate themselves on some imagined pedestal of virtue. That they are being taken seriously, indulged, and allowed to intimidate others is tragic and unforgivable.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
2 months ago

During the season do cyclists count as ” ground game”?

Marianne Vigreux
Marianne Vigreux
2 months ago

Brill! Thankyou

Gordon Black
Gordon Black
2 months ago

Maybe human competitive activities should divided, instead of 2, into 3 groupings, leagues A, B and C. League A would likely be mostly female, league B would me a mix of genders and League C would be mostly male. Appropriate promotion and relegation every year with league and cup to win. Fair?
League B would be interesting, consisting of men who never stood a chance of winning anything, and masculine women who would have won everything. League A would now be for women who never stood a chance of winning anything.

N Forster
N Forster
2 months ago
Reply to  Gordon Black

It works perfectly well if you have male and female categories, and the competitors within are biologically male and female.
Men who think they are women may have to accept is that part of the price they pay for their delusion is they can not compete in sport against women.
It is not necessary to accommodate them.

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
2 months ago
Reply to  N Forster

Good comment, except that you’ve got your “not” and your “necessary” the wrong way round.

Horton Nash
Horton Nash
2 months ago
Reply to  Gordon Black

How about we stop humouring the people making claims about “gender identity” until they provide some empirical evidence that it is not just a delusion brought on by mental illness (and thereby treatable in the same way as every other delusional disorder).
In every other aspect of public policy we would be demanding considerable evidence, especially for claims that are so outside how we understand the world to work, but with the transgender issue we seem to have been asked to accept the existence of a gendered soul and the premise that it can be placed in the wrong body…and society has responded by attacking anyone who questions the concept with the full force of both social pressure and in some cases the judicial might of the state.