Campaigners have voiced their opposition to recent restrictions on trans players in rugby
“Sorry” Equality campaigners angry at rugby’s recent gender restrictions have interrupted a training session featuring the England women’s team to express their dismay at guidelines which restrict the scenarios in which transgender players can compete.
Among the protesters was Emily Hamilton, 46, who said many sports figures were disgusted by rules that prohibit transgender women from playing alongside and against women whose gender was registered as female at birth, after detailed studies of potential health and safety risks.
“I’m a Harlequins fan, trans woman and 18 season ex-player but since last week I’ve been banned from playing rugby nowsaid Hamilton, who helps advocate for the equality group of QuinsPride supporters.
“We won’t leave until our voices are heard.”
The group, who waved pink and blue flags during the training session, have pledged to continue protesting until they receive a satisfactory response following the English Rugby Football Union’s vote banning trans women to practice this sport.
Similar measures have been taken by various other rugby unions around the world.
It has also been suggested that the group could take legal action to challenge the voting results in court.
Hamilton added that the trans community in England have been told by the way of the vote that they are not welcome in sport, amid growing debate over the fairness and effectiveness of enabling trans women of playing against naturally born females, and the associated safety risks.
This comes the same week as the Irish Rugby Football Union said of it: “Recent peer-reviewed research provides evidence that there are physical differences between people whose sex was assigned male and female at birth, and the benefits in terms of strength, endurance and physique brought about by male puberty are significant and retained even after testosterone suppression.
However, Hamilton argues that the debate has led to a significant increase in bigotry against the LGBT community.
“The contagion of this is massive,” she says.
“As a trans rugby fan, all the anxieties that I thought were gone years ago came back here today just by coming to Twickenham.
“I was worried ‘what would my reception be like’, ‘how would I be seen going into the ground’? These are things that I left behind, and they’re all back now because of this horrible excitement of a culture war..”
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