August 11, 2022 — Athlete Ally responded today to news that the Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) has banned transgender women from playing in the women’s league. This follows news from June of this year that International Rugby League (IRL) banned transgender women from playing in women’s international matches until further notice, with England Rugby (RFU) following suit last month.
“It’s incredibly disappointing to see these regulations when I know how incredible rugby has been for some of my friends,” said Chris Mosier, consultant for Athlete Ally and founder of TransAthlete.com. “While teams may be queer friendly and in some cases trans-affirming, rugby governing bodies have taken some of the most anti-trans stances in sport.”
“IRFU’s ban goes against inclusive guidelines at the highest level of sports, namely the International Olympic Committee’s framework on Fairness, Inclusion and Non-Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity and Sex Variations which stipulates that no transgender athlete has an inherent advantage, and moves away from eligibility criteria focused on testosterone levels,” said Joanna Hoffman, Director of Communications at Athlete Ally. “We call on the IRFU to develop an inclusive policy that shows respect to all members of the rugby community. Banning trans women from the sport only distracts from the real, documented challenges faced in women’s sports: unequal pay, sexual harassment and abuse, a lack of women in leadership and more. Transgender women are not a threat to sport; sexist principles upheld by misguided policies are.”