Swimming, rugby league… Transgender people banned from female sports competitions

Towards an exclusion of transgender people from the sports world? “Players changed from male to female (transgender) cannot participate in women’s international rugby matches”, said this Tuesday, June 21 the International Rugby Club (IRL), the world body of rugby league. And this as long as a “full inclusion policy” will not have been established.

The IRL announcement means that transgender people will not be able to take part in the Women’s Rugby World Cup in England in November. She felt that it was her responsibility to find the right balance between each player’s right to participate and the risk perceived by other players, as well as “to ensure that everyone receives a fair hearing”.

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This announcement comes two days after that of the International Swimming Federation (Fina) which decided to set up a “open class” to allow transgender athletes to compete separately. While male competitions will remain open to all, athletes assigned male at birth will only be able to compete in female categories if they have transitioned before puberty (“before age 12, whichever is later”specifies the text published by the federation).

According to its medical committee, men who became women retained benefits, including “bigger lungs and hearts, longer bones, bigger feet and hands”which are not lost “with the suppression of hormones”.

“Excluding trans people from sport”

This is not the first time that the implementation of regulatory measures has been mentioned by international sports bodies. In 2021, the International Olympic Committee announced its decision to let each sport determine how athletes could have a “disproportionate advantage”.

International Athletics Federation president Sebastian Coe has hinted that his discipline could follow Fina and IRL positions by adopting a stricter policy towards transgender athletes competing in events. feminine.

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This topic sparks controversy between those who defend the right of transgender athletes to compete freely as women and those who believe they have an unfair physiological advantage.. “The goal is clear: to permanently exclude trans people from sport”commented on Twitter the activist account Le coin des LGBT +.

Unfair decisions also for the Human Rights Campaign, the largest LGBT rights group in the United States, which tweeted on Sunday, after the Fina announcement: “This policy change only compounds the discrimination that transgender athletes already face. We should create inclusive policies for trans athletes – not policies that seek to exclude them. »

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Former Harvard swimmer Schuyler Bailar, the first trans person to compete as a man in NCAA Division I (college sport), also harshly criticized the Swimming Federation’s announcement in the columns of the ” Washington Post”, relayed by “Liberation”.

“She does not preserve the integrity of women’s sport. It reinforces the harmful control of women’s bodies and the continued degradation and otherness of trans people who already face massive discrimination in this world. And she demands trans girls transition before age 12, but the United States has seen nearly 100 bills banning trans kids from playing youth sports. »

Several conservative states have in fact introduced laws aimed at prohibiting hormonal treatment for minors.

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