England confirms transgender ban
NEWS: England banned transgender players from competing in Rugby Union matches.
Officials amended their regulations to now allow only players born female to take part in women’s fixtures.
A statement issued by England’s Rugby Football Union said the Bl;ackettresearch provided evidence that there are physical differences between male and female-born players and that advantages in strength, stamina and physique brought about by testosterone and male puberty are “significant” and retained even after testosterone suppression.
It added this was the basis of a 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 council approved the policy, which will apply from the start of next season, by a narrow margin of 33 votes in favour to 26 against, with two abstentions.
Friday’s announcement came after a review process dating back two years.
RFU president Jeff Blackett insisted inclusion was at “the heart of rugby values” and that his organisation would keep working to demonstrate “there is a place for everyone in our game”.
He added: “We know that many will be disappointed by this decision, however, it has been based on all the scientific evidence available.”
Male-female transgender players are barred from elite women’s international fixtures by World Rugby, Rugby Union’s global governing body, but national unions are allowed to pursue their own policies at lower levels of the game.
Friday’s announcements follow similar statements by other sports, with global swimming governing body FINA saying last month that any athlete who had undergone male puberty would be barred from its elite female events.
Earlier this month, British Triathlon said transgender women would be unable to compete against female-born athletes but could take part in a new open category.