England: Transgender activists attend Red Roses training session to protest against ‘disgraceful’ ban

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

England’s open training session was subject to a peaceful protest against the decision to ban transgender women from playing female contact rugby.

Attending on Thursday was Emily Hamilton, founding co-chair of LGBTQ+ rugby supporters association ‘Quins Pride’, who was among 20 people staging the protest.

Hamilton feels the decision from the Rugby Football Union, which has been replicated by the Irish Rugby Football Union, has made life less safe for her community.

20 people staging the protest

Approximately 1,000 people had turned out to watch the Red Roses prepare for their upcoming matches, with all roads leading to the Rugby World Cup this year.

But Hamilton, who played 18 seasons as an amateur player before transitioning, feels the sport is no longer a “safe and inclusive place” after its latest decision.

“We were part of the rugby family – I’ve been in rugby for nearly 40 years – but now we’ve been told that we’re no longer part of that family,” Hamilton said.

“We are human beings but we are being used as a political football, being kicked about at all levels of life. We thought rugby is a safe and inclusive place, which it no longer is.

“We just want to be seen and to be visible and for people to understand that we’re not the monsters we’re portrayed as.

“We’re not freaks of nature and actually in many cases we’re not that different to the women you see out there on the pitch training.

“It’s also about the social contagion. What’s happened in the last two weeks has opened the doors to the most horrific abuse – people telling me to kill myself, abusing me online – and just for standing up to say this is the wrong decision.

“The contagion spreads because people feel emboldened to be abusive and to repeat bigotry. That makes our lives less safe and less enjoyable.

“All of the fears I had when I transitioned are back again now because we’re being told we’re not welcome in the sport. We’re swimming against the tide but that won’t stop us swimming.”

Absurd and disgraceful

The move to limit women’s contact rugby to players whose sex was recorded as female at birth follows World Rugby’s guidance, something Hamilton objects to.

“It’s absurd and disgraceful to ban trans women en masse having operated on a case by case basis,” Hamilton said. “To say that every trans woman is automatically unsafe can only be said by someone who has never watched a match of rugby in their life.

“Look out on to the pitch now – there are body shapes of all sizes, so to blanket ban trans women on that basis is absurd.

“If we are now saying that rugby is dangerous for people of differing sizes to play against each other, that’s not a trans issue, that’s a much broader issue.”

READ MORE: Ireland: IRFU bans transgender women and girls aged over 12 from female contact rugby

The article England: Transgender activists attend Red Roses training session to protest against ‘disgraceful’ ban appeared first on Planetrugby.com.