But where will they play?

The lions don’t care


Wales’ first gay rugby team has criticised plans to ban trans women from playing women’s rugby.

That is, plans to ban men from playing women’s rugby. Men can have whatever fantasies about their own identities they like, but that doesn’t mean they can impose their fantasies on everyone else no matter what, and it especially doesn’t mean that when it’s a matter of the relative safety of women rugby players.

The sport’s governing body World Rugby is considering the move over “safety concerns” – claiming a female player is at a higher risk of being injured by a player that has gone through male puberty.

Because she is. Obviously. It’s not a mere “claim” and there’s no call for scare quotes on safety concerns – the concerns are real, and women’s safety does matter, believe it or not.

And in its report, published by the Guardian newspaper, it says trans women have significant physical advantages over biological women even after they take medication to lower testosterone.

However, if these proposals get the go-ahead then doubts surround where and where trans women are able to play competitive rugby.

Why do those doubts matter more than the fact that allowing men to play on women’s teams will inevitably cause injury to the women? Why don’t women matter?

Cardiff Lions, Wales’ first gay inclusive rugby team, have slammed the proposals – and said the plans effectively amount to a ban on trans women playing the sport – because they would not be able to play men’s rugby either.

Why does that matter more than women’s safety? Why don’t the Cardiff Lions care about that?

World Rugby’s 38-page draft document, produced by its transgender working group, said there is likely to be “at least a 20-30% greater risk” of injury when a female player is tackled by someone who has gone through male puberty. It argues the advantage is so great – and the potential consequences for the safety of participants in tackles, scrums and mauls [also so great] – it should mean that welfare concerns should be prioritised. And the document claims those advantages are not reduced when a trans women takes testosterone-suppressing medication- “with only small reductions in strength and no loss in bone mass or muscle volume or size after testosterone suppression”.

But the Cardiff Lions don’t care about all that. Not their problem.

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