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Rugby Clubs Come Out In Support Of Trans Women After RFU Ruling

Rugby Clubs Come Out In Support Of Trans Women After RFU Ruling
By Colman Stanley

A vote yesterday saw the Rugby Football Union and the Rugby Football League update their gender participation policy so that players will only be allowed compete in female rugby if their sex recorded at birth is female. This vote effectively bans trans women from playing in the female category.

The RFU Council's vote was passed by a majority of 33 to 26, with two abstaining, and will see the new laws come into practice for the 2022/23 season.

RFU President Jeff Blackett had the following to say on the decision:

“I would like to thank everyone for the passion, time and effort that has been put in to 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.”

News that the RFU would be voting on this issue sparked heated debate on social media, which only increased following the ruling.

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A number of well-known online rugby personalities and ex-players shared their opinion, some for and some against.

Alix Fitzgerald, who plays rugby with the East London Vikings and is one of the seven transgender women who had been permitted to play rugby in the UK, aired her concerns with the logic behind the ban before the vote to Sky Sports.

"I am not the largest person on this team, I am not the strongest person on this team. That argument is a very dangerous one for rugby to go down, simply because, who's big enough? And who's too big?

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The ban follows out on from World Rugby's ban on trans women from playing elite rugby in 2020.

Rugby clubs from both England and Ireland also shared their views, with many coming out in support of trans women.

The RFU did add that they will continue to conduct research on the subject.

"The RFU is committed to working with World Rugby and UK Sports Councils to ensure further research is conducted and to reviewing the policy on a regular basis."

SEE ALSO: Nigel Owens Slams The Introduction Of A 20-Minute Red Card In Rugby

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