World Rugby advises against transgender participation in women’s rugby

World Rugby has recommended that transgender women do not play elite women’s rugby following a review.

New guidelines have been drawn up to cover the participation of transgender athletes in men’s and women’s contact rugby where it is possible to do so safely and fairly.

As a result, transgender men are permitted to participate in men’s contact rugby but the same does not apply to transgender women in women’s rugby.

“Given the best available evidence for the effects of testosterone reduction on these physical attributes for transgender women, it was concluded that safety and fairness cannot presently be assured for women competing against transwomen in contact rugby,” said a World Rugby statement.

“As a result, the new guidelines do not recommend that transwomen play women’s contact rugby on safety grounds at the elite and international level of the game where size, strength, power and speed are crucial for both risk and performance, but do not preclude national unions from flexibility in their application of the guidelines at the community level of the game.

“Transmen are permitted to participate in men’s contact rugby.”

British Cycling has also published its first policy on transgender and non-binary participation in cycling.

In terms of competitive events, any transgender or non-binary member seeking to compete in the female category has to submit a signed declaration – which cannot be changed for sporting purposes for a minimum of four years – that their gender identity is female and an attestation from a medical professional that the member’s total testosterone level in serum has been below 5 nmol/L for at least 12 months prior to the member’s first competition.

Any applicant for the male racing category will not be required to provide medical evidence but will have to produce a declaration – which also cannot be changed for four years – that the member’s gender identity is male.

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