The Irish Rugby Union announced on Wednesday that under the latest guidelines from World Rugby, transgender players will not be allowed to compete in matches for the coming season.
Only players registered as female at birth are allowed to participate in matches.
Ireland joins the decision of the English Rugby Union and Rugby League, which last month banned transgender players from participating in women’s matches due to safety concerns.
“Transgender women have been excluded from women’s rugby because of the size, strength and power benefits that testosterone provides during puberty and adolescence, and the risks to player welfare.”
“Recent research shows that there are physical differences between people assigned as male or female at birth. The strength, endurance, and physical attributes of male puberty are significant and persist even after testosterone is removed.The Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) said in a statement.
“The IRFU is well aware that this is a sensitive and challenging area for those involved and the wider LGBT+ community and will continue to work with those affected by providing support to ensure their continued participation in the game.”
The rule change will only affect two players registered in Ireland and the IRFU said it had been in contact with them to offer alternatives such as non-contact play, refereeing and coaching.
“Ireland should not follow the UK’s lead in trying to reduce the number of opportunities for trans women to exist safely. Ireland can and must do better.Paula Fagan, director general of the LGBT movement in Ireland, asked the IRFU “Reconsider your decision”
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