'I just want to be myself': Welsh cyclist Emily Bridges opens up about coming out as transgender

  • Watch Emily Bridges' exclusive interview with ITV Cymru Wales' Sports Reporter Beth Fisher

A Welsh cyclist has opened up about coming out as transgender in the hope of inspiring others to be ''true to themselves''.

Nineteen-year-old, Emily Bridges, hoped to compete at the 2024 Olympics in Paris but is now studying French and Politics at Nottingham University.

In an exclusive interview on Coming Out Day, with ITV Cymru Wales' Sports reporter Beth Fisher, the teenager from Cwmbran, says she struggled with gender dysphoria but is much "happier" now.

By the age of sixteen, Emily won a silver medal at junior nationals in 2017 and was moved onto the Great Britain Junior Academy.

However, her career took a hit after suffering two crashes with a car and then a motorbike in her first year but it didn't stop her upwards journey. In 2018, Emily won two silvers at the national track championships.

She then went on to win her first national title in August 2019 but missed out on a bronze at the World Junior Championships in Germany.

Emily said: "Originally I was thinking 'try and get to Paris and then see how I'm feeling and transition after then.'"

"But the feelings were just so intense, I couldn't wait any longer. It was unbearable."

"It was heartbreaking to potentially lose my cycling, but I knew that to survive and be who I was, I couldn't not transition."

Emily is studying French and politics in Nottingham. Credit: Orlagh Gardner

Emily said she no longer wants to "lie" about who she is and feels "liberated."

She said: "I really dislike my body and how it's developed through puberty and developed in a more masculine way."

"That causes me a lot of distress. It brings you down, it feels like you're trapped in your own body, mind and by society who's telling you to be this person that you're just not, you don't wnat be and you don't feel comfortable from being that way."

"To break free from that mould and that box, it's so liberating," Emily said.

Emily says she is 'happier' now. Credit: Orlagh Gardner

Emily said she decided now was the right time to come out because she doesn't want to "lie about who I am anymore."She said: "I've moved to uni, I've been completely open about who I am and I've been so happy since I've got here and I just want that to be how I am in every aspect of my life."

"I just want to be myself. I'm overjoyed that I can say that publically." Emily added.

Credit: Orlagh Gardner

Emily has opted to take part in research on the effects of transitioning on athletes.

"When people think of trans people, they just aren't aware of how much difference the transition has," she said.

"To prove that the rules are fair, I'm going to be part of this study which looks at how your body changes and how much difference that has on athletic performance."

She added: "Hopefully it'll be really useful for sport going forward."

Emily said she hopes her story helps "one person be who they are and feel less alone, then I would've succeeded."

  • Michelle Daltry, who's chair of LGBT+ Sport Cymru spoke to Wales at Six about Emily's courage and how it will help others in a similar situation.