World Rugby have announced they will be adopting the Transgender Eligibility Guidelines that were released for consultation in July, but for international rugby only. They have made some minor amendments, but the guidelines are largely as originally published, which supports the call from many females around the world to keep males out of women’s sport.
“World Rugby conducted a thorough research and consultation process and they should be commended for it, but more crucially they should be commended for standing by their findings despite the immense pressure put on them by activists and lobbyists who would have them disregard women’s safety,” says Save Women’s Sport Australasia’s New Zealand spokeswoman Ro Edge.
World Rugby’s new policy will see a change from their current rules, which allowed trans women to play women’s rugby if they lowered their testosterone levels for at least 12 months (in line with the International Olympic Committee’s guidelines) to a new policy that would only enable trans women to play in touch rugby competitions and not in any contact form of their game. Trans men will also be required to sign a waiver to play in the men's game, given the added risk to their own health and safety.
These new rules only apply for international competitions and the New Zealand Rugby Union - having rejected the World Rugby guidelines initially – now has the chance to consult with local experts and the community. Save Women’s Sport New Zealand has made it clear to the NZRU that female players must be given the opportunity to share their thoughts without the fear of social reprisals.
Women’s rugby players all over the world must now look to their own national rugby organisations for answers as to why if World Rugby can prioritise safety for females who play internationally, why do female players at home not also deserve safety and fairness?
“Sporting organisations now have access to the knowledge gained by World Rugby and ignoring the injury risk to women would be criminal,” says Ms Edge.
“This is just the beginning of the reckoning that all sporting codes will have to face where they must weigh up whether the entitlement of males who identify as women to be included outweighs the right of women to safe and fair sport.
October 10th 2020 - World Rugby Adopts Transgender Guidelines