Tuesday, June 28

Rugby also restricts transgender women in international competitions

Given the very comprehensive framework established by the International Olympic Committee on the inclusion of transgender athletes in competitions (a framework of equity and inclusion and non-discrimination on sexual grounds), it is now the various international federations that are developing rules to regulate the presence of transgender athletes in women’s events.

The International Rugby League (IRL) joins FINA in restricting the presence of transgender women in women’s international competitions. In a statement, however, the Federation says that further consultation and research is needed before it can finalise the rules on transgender inclusion, but in the meantime this ruling means that transgender athletes will not be able to play in this weekend’s matches or the women’s World Cup.

“The IRL continues to work to review and update the rules on transgender participation in international women’s rugby competitions and will look to use the upcoming World Cup to help develop a comprehensive inclusion policy,” the Federation announced in a statement.

Despite this decision, rugby’s governing body also reaffirmed that ‘rugby league is a game for everyone and everyone can play our sport.’

“It is the responsibility of the IRL to balance the individual’s right to participate against the perceived risk to other participants and to ensure that everyone is given a fair hearing.” the statement continued.

FINA’s decision to restrict trans women from participating in international competitions, unless they have transitioned before the age of 13, has not been unanimously welcomed, with voices both in favour and some highly critical. The swimming body announced the creation of an ‘open’ category for transgender athletes.

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Once FINA’s decision was known, Sebastian Coe, president of World Athletics, agreed with the ruling and announced that athletics could soon follow a similar policy to the one adopted by swimming.

“If we are ever backed into a corner to the point of making a judgement on fairness or inclusion, I will always come down on the side of fairness,” he explained in a press conference.

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