Trans rugby players fight back against proposed World Rugby ban

In recent weeks, reports out of World Rugby — the sport’s international governing body — have pointed to an impending ban of trans women from women’s rugby.

The move caught International Gay Rugby off guard. They had been advising World Rugby on their trans policy and had believed a path to inclusion — not outright exclusion — would be the ultimate destination

The policy is important to IGR — the world’s leading LGBTQ rugby organiation — as they have members who are trans women and who would be directly effected by a ban.

Outsports teamed up with IGR to share the real-life stories of trans athletes in rugby to help people understand the truth of trans inclusion in the sport:

  • Isabella Macbeth plays women’s rugby in South Carolina
  • Shoshauna Gauvin served her country of Canada for 15 years and plays university rugby
  • Grace McKenzie helped create an internet ‘start-up’ against transphobia
  • Verity Smith lives in the UK and has been at the table with World Rugby

Joanna Harper, a trans athlete herself who has become a world thought leader and researcher into the science behind trans athletes, also shared her thoughts on the process and conclusions of World Rugby’s trans-athlete

“I think they had their minds made up, before they called the meeting,” Harper said in a powerful interview with Outsports managing editor Dawn Ennis. “It would have been nice to have seen a trans woman rugby player there, but I doubt it would have made any difference.”

Check out Outsports’ series on trans women in women’s rugby.


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