Identifying principles for an equitable, safe and evidence-based rugby-specific policy for transgender participation was the focus of a ground-breaking World Rugby meeting in London this week.
For the first time in sport, leading independent experts with differing views were invited to share their expertise, opinions and research with a dedicated multi-disciplinary transgender participation working group.
Across two days of constructive and positive discussion, the invited experts from the areas of performance, science, medicine, risk, law and socio-ethics presented the latest research, studies and considerations.
World Rugby’s policy is based on the current International Olympic Committee policy. While the gathering in London was not a decision-making forum, key considerations will be taken forward by the working group chaired by Dr Araba Chintoh, a World Rugby executive leadership scholarship recipient, psychiatrist and former Canada international.
Dr Chintoh said: “This was an important and ground-breaking meeting that brought together leading experts with differing views to discuss and inform a way forward for rugby that promotes inclusivity while prioritising the safety of rugby participants.
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“The expert opinions have provided us with important guidance that will frame our decision-making regarding updated and fit-for-purpose policies.”
Key outcomes included:
- Agreement on key issues of the physiological basis of performance differences between men and women;
- Further consultation and research required, particularly in the areas of specific injury risk, ethical considerations and performance;
- Commitment from World Rugby to explore further research to inform future guideline revision.
World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont added: “As the first of its kind, the workshop was a giant leap forward for rugby and significant in a wider sporting context.
“We explored the best available evidence and have heard the relevant independent expert opinions and I believe all delegates found it a stimulating and ground-breaking forum.
“It is now down to us, under the auspices of the working group, to take the information forward and inform our policy-making.
“While this process will take time, we are committed to delivering a fit-for-purpose policy in the modern sporting and societal landscape, balancing inclusivity, while promoting fairness and welfare.”
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