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Trans women ‘do not pose a danger to other players’, World Rugby told

Vic Parsons February 26, 2020
International Gay Rugby slams proposed ban on trans women in sport

Stock photo. (Unsplash)

Transgender women do not pose a danger to other players in the sport, World Rugby has been told.

The comments were made by one of the participants in a groundbreaking forum about the right of trans people to participate the game.

Verity Smith, a trans man who continued to play for women’s rugby team Rotherham Ladies while transitioning, said that any changes to the rules could exclude trans people from sports.

“I don’t think it’s dangerous,” Smith told Sky News.

“Sport is for everybody, I’ve had to play women over a foot taller than me. I’ve had to play women a lot bigger size-wise than me. So why would it be a danger?” he added.

“We all go into sport, rugby especially, knowing that it’s a contact sport . When you go into international games, look at your scrum half, look at your front row, over a foot and a half difference sometimes.”

World Rugby is holding the forum to determine whether the current eligibility rules for trans woman are appropriate.

The forum is unlikely to spell good news for trans women in rugby.

In a statement, World Rugby said: “The current policy follows the International Olympic Committee’s policy, but with the latest research suggesting that a reduction of testosterone does not lead to a proportionate reduction in strength and power, it is important for contact sports, such as rugby, to find an appropriate position for player welfare and risk.

“The international federation is asking elite players for their views in order to get a representative view from the elite levels of game via the form of a questionnaire.”

Last week, anti-trans campaign group Fair Play For Women revealed on Twitter that they would be one of the “expert voices” participating in the World Rugby forum.

“We are pleased to announce that Fair Play For Women will be attending this important 2-day meeting. Dr Nicola Williams will asking World Rugby to protect the female sex category to guarantee fairness, safety and access to Rugby for women and girls,” the group wrote on Twitter.

World Rugby said it currently follows the same policy as the International Olympic Committee (IOC) but said it would now be conducting a review in order to come up with its own policy.

Under the IOC’s current policy, trans women can compete in sport if their testosterone level in serum is kept below 10 nanomoles per litre for at least 12 months.

More: Fair Play For Women, trans inclusion, trans women in sport, world rugby

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