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Rugby players around the world take a stand in support of trans women and non-binary athletes

International Gay Rugby is directly addressing the transgender and non-binary rugby-playing community with the message: ‘You will always be welcome to play rugby’

International Gay Rugby
IGRugby.org

All this week, Outsports is sharing stories of transgender women who are rugby athletes in stories, podcast episodes and on our social media platforms. We’ll also tell you about allies who, like Outsports, support International Gay Rugby’s rejection of a proposal to ban non-binary and transgender women athletes from competing in women’s rugby competitions.

Ever since last week, when the International Gay Rugby organization sent World Rugby a 230-page position paper rejecting its proposed ban on trans women and non-binary rugby players, support has poured-in from around the globe, echoing the message: #TackleTransphobia

“We at IGR Rugby reject this proposal,” IGR tweeted last week, “and stand with our Trans & Non-Binary players in solidarity to protect their #RightToPlay and call on @WorldRugby to do the same!”

A Chicago-based rugby club posted its support on Facebook and spoke to Windy City Times:

“The Chicago Dragons cannot accept these discriminatory practices from World Rugby,” said Chicago Dragons diversity and inclusion chair Matt Dela Cruz. “These practices go against the values of inclusion and respect both within our club and the sport of rugby itself.”

Rocky Mountain Rugby is another club standing up to be counted as opposing any ban.

“The draft guideline endangers the privacy of all women as it allows others to publicly call out women who appear ‘too masculine,’ ‘not feminine enough,’ ‘not woman enough,’ or women who appear to have any perceived unfair advantage,” wrote the group’s leaders, who signed their names. “The draft guideline will force untrained administrators, coaches, and officials to determine a player’s gender assigned at birth, which is inherently invasive, discriminatory, and dehumanizing to any athlete called into question.”

Rocky Mountain Rugby’s officers added that they firmly reject the proposed draft guideline because, in their words, “It represents direct and active discrimination against transgender and non-binary athletes. Rocky Mountain Rugby believes that trans women are women and trans men are men.”

The group concluded with this welcoming and comforting message: “To trans and non-binary athletes, coaches, referees, and administrators: During this time of debate on whether World Rugby should adopt this policy change, Rocky Mountain Rugby is of mind that you are welcome here, and you are an important member of our community.”

Rugby players in Denmark joined in, too (albeit in Danish):

You can read the position paper IGR sent to World Rugby by clicking here and the press release in this tweet by the Trans Sport Advocacy group.

In addition, LGBT sports groups in the UK have joined forces to form a coalition to tell World Rugby, “Let Trans Women Play.” According to the Sports Media LGBT+ website, the LGBTIQ+ Sport and Physical Activity Alliance comprises the UK’s three leading LGBT+-inclusive sports organizations: Pride Sports, LEAP Sports Scotland, and LGBT+ Sport Cymru.

In addition a similarly-themed petition on Change.org has garnered nearly 17-thousand signatures. The “Keep Rugby Open to Trans Women Athletes” petition was launched by Grace McKenzie, who plays for the Golden Gate Women’s club in San Francisco. She’s the featured guest this Wednesday on the weekly Outsports podcast, The Trans Sporter Room.

Athlete Ally is also amplifying and supporting a letter signed by international athletes and working in coalition with players on additional social strategies in opposition to the proposed ban.