Transgender women barred from playing in female rugby competitions

Following swimming’s ban on transgender women competing in female divisions, rugby has now forbidden transgender women from participating in female rugby matches in England.

In England, transgender women are not permitted to participate in female rugby events. The declaration was made in response to fresh advice from the RFU. They first permitted certain transgender women to play women’s rugby, but only after making a special application.

However, the RFU Council will now abide by the proposal that anybody whose sex was designated as male at birth is barred from playing girl’s or women’s rugby after the completion of a two-year review. The rules set out by World Rugby and the world swimming association Fina are consistent with that.

According to World Rugby regulations: “Transgender women may not currently play women’s rugby… because of the size, force and power-producing advantages conferred by testosterone during puberty and adolescence, and the resultant player welfare risks this creates.”

According to the RFU, it has “has contacted registered trans female players, on whom the policy will have a direct impact to offer its support in continuing to encourage them to participate in the sport”.

In the male category, it is suggested that players whose sex was registered at birth as female may participate. This is provided they give written agreement and a risk assessment is conducted.

This decision comes after the cultural secretary Nadine Dorries encouraged sports organizations to exclude transgender athletes who have completed puberty from participating in women’s games.

On a Tuesday day last month, she visited with representatives from football, cricket, rugby, tennis, athletics, and other sports. She made it plain that in her opinion, national governing organizations needed to take action since it was “inherently unfair” for young girls and women to compete against someone who was born biologically male.

Dorries said: “Sport is for everyone, no matter where you’ve come from in life. It allows people to come together and perform on a level playing field, based upon basic fairness and the integrity of competition. The government has the utmost compassion for people born into a body they don’t recognize.”

“But we can’t pretend that sex doesn’t have a direct impact on a person’s athletic performance. Asking women and teenage girls to compete against someone who was biologically born a male is inherently unfair.”

“I recognise that this is a complex and emotionally charged issue, so I welcome the support of our domestic governing bodies to protect and show compassion to all athletes.”

“In the interests of sporting integrity, we must bring clarity to protect the future interests of sport around the world.”