Transgender women have been banned from full-contact rugby from next season following a narrow vote by the Rugby Football Union (RFU).
The council approved the recommendations on 29 July by a vote of 33 to 26 with two abstenations. Jeff Blackett, the RFU president, said: “Inclusion is at the heart of rugby values and we will continue to work with everyone to keep listening, learning and finding ways to demonstrate there is a place for everyone in our game. “We know that many will be disappointed by this decision, however, it has been based on all the scientific evidence available. “Our game can be strengthened by everyone who is involved; be it in coaching, refereeing, administration or supporting and playing non-contact forms of the game.” Until now, the RFU, which is the governing body of the union code in England, allowed some trans women to compete in what was essentially done so under a case-by-case basis.
Julie Curtiss, one of the seven trans women who were registered to play in England, joined a group of protesters outside Twickenham Stadium on the day of the vote. “They have missed a one-time only opportunity to demonstrate their genuine commitment to diversity in the sport,” she said. “They have refused to engage with a minority group to try to find a way to expand the game into new areas.” Children will still be able to compete in the same teams up until the age of 12.