England: RFU bans trans women from playing women’s rugby

·3-min read
 Credit: PA Images
Credit: PA Images

The Rugby Football Union have announced that trans women will not be allowed to play in full-contact women’s rugby from next season following a vote.

Trans women were currently banned from the elite game but, after Friday’s decision, it now applies at all levels in England.

Detailed review of its policy

“Following an extensive RFU consultation, the RFU council has voted in favour of updating its gender participation policy for rugby in England from the start of the 2022/23 season,” a statement read.

“The RFU began a detailed review of its policy in autumn 2020. This included a game-wide survey receiving over 11,000 responses, extensive consultation with and listening to a wide range of independent experts as well as considering all available scientific evidence along with liaising with other sporting bodies.

“The review and consultation concluded that detailed peer-reviewed research provides evidence that there are physical differences between those people whose sex originally recorded as male and those as female at birth, and advantages in strength, stamina and physique brought about by testosterone and male puberty are significant and retained even after testosterone suppression.”

The vote saw 33 people in favour of the ban with 26 against while two abstained.

It has been brought in on the basis of “safety and fairness”, with the review deeming that those who were born a male and went through puberty before transitioning retained significant physical advantages.

“This science provides the basis of the new gender participation policy that concludes the inclusion of trans people originally recorded male at birth in female contact rugby cannot be balanced against considerations of safety and fairness,” the RFU’s statement continued.

“The RFU council has determined that until such time as new further peer-reviewed science is available, a precautionary approach is appropriate to ensure fair competition and safety of all competitors.

“Therefore, the RFU council approved a policy change to only permit players in the female category if the sex originally recorded at birth is female.

“The RFU recognises this was a complex and difficult decision and the policy change was not taken lightly or without thorough and full research and consultation.”

Based on scientific evidence

RFU president Jeff Blackett added: “I would like to thank everyone for the passion, time and effort that has been put into consulting with us and informing this policy review.

“Inclusion is at the heart of rugby values and we will continue to work with everyone to keep listening, learning and finding ways to demonstrate there is a place for everyone in our game.

“We know that many will be disappointed by this decision. However, it has been based on all the scientific evidence available.

“Our game can be strengthened by everyone who is involved; be it in coaching, refereeing, administration or supporting and playing non-contact forms of the game.”

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The article England: RFU bans trans women from playing women’s rugby appeared first on Planetrugby.com.

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