Transgender people born men could be banned from playing women's rugby union in England

The ban would see transgender women banned from playing women’s rugby in England

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Rugby Football Union Council members will decide on Friday whether to back a recommendation that would see transgender women banned from playing women’s rugby in England.

The RFU said it had “conducted an extensive review of its gender participation policy for English domestic contact rugby”.

A two-year review carried out by the governing body saw more than 11,000 responses received to a game-wide survey on the matter.

The RFU added that it had listened to a wide range of views, while also considering scientific evidence and guidance from other sporting bodies.

The recommendation would see transgender women banned from playing women’s rugby in England
The recommendation would see transgender women banned from playing women’s rugby in England
The policy would take effect ahead of the 2022-23 season
The policy would take effect ahead of the 2022-23 season

And the 67-strong Council will now vote on a change of policy that would take effect ahead of the 2022-23 season for English women’s domestic contact rugby, with no one who was born male permitted to play.

“The review and consultation concluded that peer-reviewed research provides evidence that there are physical differences between those people whose sex was assigned as male and those as female at birth, and advantages in strength, stamina and physique brought about by male puberty are significant and retained even after testosterone suppression,” the RFU said in a statement released last week.

“The RFU Council have been provided with access to medical, scientific and social information so that it can consider this recommendation and the merits of any alternative approaches, including a case-by-case approval process.

“However, the case-by-case assessment is not without difficulties and can result in players not being permitted to participate.

“In light of the research findings and work of World Rugby and the UK Sports Councils, and given the difficulties in identifying a credible test to assess physiological variables, it is recommended that this is no longer a viable option at this time and does not necessarily ensure inclusion.

“Therefore, the RFU Council will vote on a recommendation for a policy change for contact rugby to only permit players in the female category whose sex recorded at birth was female.”