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U.S. elite and club rugby players join worldwide chorus against proposed trans ban

USA Rugby is asking for feedback on proposed World Rugby guidelines

Women’s Rugby Super Series 2019 - Day Two Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

Over the weekend, a group of U.S.-based rugby clubs, collegiate-based teams, and national team players and coaches declared in a joint statement their support for transgender women rugby players. They joined the global petition effort that calls for World Rugby to reconsider a proposed policy change that would end trans women’s participation.

So far, that petition on has garnered more than 14-thousand signatures.

The statement was revealed publicly in a 4-minute video posted to Instagram.

Participants include current USA Eagles standout Alev Kelter, 2016 U.S. Olympic sevens team member J.J. Javelet, former USA national team player and current assistant coach Jenny Lui, and U.S. Air Force Academy women’s head coach Lisa Rosen. Players from 23 club teams also took part.

Rugby - Olympics: Day 1
Alev Kelter, one of the stars of the current USA national side, spoke out for full participation and against the World Rugby proposal
Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images

The statement took World Rugby to task for heeding the advice of controversial figures such as Dr. Nicola Williams of the U.K.-based anti-trans group Fair Play For Women. The statement also questioned the research used to build the proposal, saying it “relies on an unpublished paper made by two notoriously transphobic researchers. These researchers and others were from an anti-trans group and were invited to join a World Rugby working group to weigh-in on current rules. Their paper, which is flawed both methodologically and scientifically, is shameful science to include in such a discussion.”

The statement went on to reaffirm rugby as an open sport, to show collective support for that worldwide petition on and note the current legal battles over transgender participation in sport in Idaho and Connecticut as action points for supporters.

In related news, USA Rugby, the sport’s national governing body, has also begun its own feedback process looking at the World Rugby draft guidelines in consultation with member club in the United States.