Musselburgh RFC criticise ban on transgender girls in women’s rugby

Musselburgh RFC criticise ban on transgender girls in women’s rugby

MUSSELBURGH Rugby Club has criticised the decision by Scottish Rugby Union (SRU) to ban transgender women from taking part in women’s contact rugby.

Previously, transgender women could participate in the women’s game in Scotland depending on the outcome of a thorough medical process including testosterone tests prior to registration to play.

However SRU made the decision on January 24 to amend its Gender Participation Policy to ban transgender women from taking part in female contact rugby with the new policy coming into place yesterday (February 1).

Transgender men may continue to play contact rugby in the men’s category provided a risk assessment has been undertaken by the club in which the player is registered, and the outcome logged with SRU.

The policy will be reviewed on at least an annual basis.

In a statement Musselburgh Rugby Club said: “Musselburgh RFC would like to thank the SRU for consulting with us, and other inclusive clubs in Scotland, throughout the Gender Participation Policy process.

“We are however very disheartened to see that last week they have followed the same decision as other Home Country counterparts and implemented a new policy which is not based on facts that are directly related to rugby, or other contact sports, at all levels of player performance.

“At Musselburgh, we strive on ensuring that our club values are implemented across rugby in Scotland and this new policy directly contradicts our values of inclusion within our wonderful game.

“while we disagree with the outcome of the gender participation review, we welcome the annual review of this policy and will work to hold this commitment to account.

“We hope progress can be made soon to encourage progression of new research and data through working with governing bodies and world rugby to ensure that rugby can once again be a game for everyone.”

A statement from the Scottish Rugby Board said: “We all have a responsibility to look after the participants in our game, with their wellbeing and safety at the centre of everything we do. Scottish Rugby’s aim is that everyone who is involved with our sport has a positive experience and goes on to achieve their full potential both within the game and in life.

“We fully acknowledge this is a difficult and sadly divisive societal issue, and that has been especially apparent over the last few months. Scottish Rugby has been mindful of this and aimed to deal with the issue in a sensitive manner.

“Inclusion is a bedrock of our sport. Scottish Rugby wishes to be as inclusive as possible and is only imposing such eligibility restrictions based on the guidance provided. The decision to amend our eligibility criteria was not taken lightly as we seek to address conflicting viewpoints.

“Our Gender Participation Policy recognises the need to balance considerations of safety and fairness with our underlying desire to be as inclusive as possible. At this moment in time, Scottish Rugby has opted to make a decision which puts safety first, based on the current research. As such, it is in line with World Rugby’s Transgender Policy and the Guidelines produced by the UK Sports Councils’ Equality Group whose recent recommendations we have considered and adhered to when updating this policy.

“Scottish Rugby remains committed to actively supporting any individual affected by our revised policy and engaging with them, both now and in the future, as we navigate through this issue.”

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East Lothian Courier
Craig Bathgate

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