World Rugby, the governing body for the sport of rugby that organizes several international rugby competitions and comprises 120 national unions, is considering barring transgender women from playing women’s rugby.
The body’s transgender working group cites research that claims there is “at least 20 to 30 percent greater risk” of injury when a cisgender female is tackled by a trans player. The group argues that the latest science shows that trans women have “significant” physical advantages over cis women.
Contrastingly, the group makes no argument against trans men competing with cisgender men as long as the player undergoes a physical exam and signs a consent form.
If the ban is approved, World Rugby would be the first sports federation to implement a trans ban.
According to Australian rugby union and rugby league athlete Caroline Layt, World Rugby never consulted trans women while crafting the draft proposal. “It just goes to show the steps the patriarchy has taken to exclude any current or former trans rugby playing women in their working group,” she told.
Meanwhile, activists and rugby teams across the world have taken to Twitter to voice their support for trans women players.