Vulnerable people

Some academics are angry that male people won’t be allowed to play on women’s rugby teams.

World Rugby’s proposals to ban trans women from playing women’s rugby have been criticised by dozens of academics, who have written to the sport’s governing body to insist there is “no evidence” that trans women pose a safety risk to others playing the sport.

One, that’s absurd, but two, it’s beside the point. Women and men are physically different in many ways, and that’s why they compete mostly on separate teams. Trans women are physically men, so they should not force themselves onto women’s teams.

The letter, which has been co-signed by 84 leading academics from a range of fields including sport, public health and sociology, also questions the science behind the proposed ban and warns it will discriminate against vulnerable people.

Women are vulnerable people. Women as a group are vulnerable to men as a group. Trans women are socially vulnerable in many ways, but they are not physically vulnerable to women in the way women are physically vulnerable to men. Forcing women to accept men who identify as trans in their sports would discriminate against vulnerable people. It’s bizarre how quickly all these “academics” have lost sight of the vulnerability of women to male physical dominance.

“We are opposed to World Rugby’s proposed ban of an entire population group from playing women’s rugby: non-binary people assumed male at birth and transgender women,” it says. “There is no peer-reviewed, scientific evidence to justify a ban which would only be harmful to trans and gender diverse people.”

Who said anything about banning “non-binary” people? Anyone? Surely women who call themselves “non-binary” are not banned from women’s rugby? It’s only men, whether trans or “non-binary,” who are banned from women’s rugby. And there’s no such thing as “assumed male at birth.”

However, World Rugby has issued a robust defence of the research on which its recommendations are based, as well as its application of that research, which has concluded there is a minimum of 20% to 30% increase in injury risk factors when typical male-bodied and female-bodied players are involved in tackles – even when trans women suppress their testosterone in line with International Olympic Committee rules.

I wonder if any of these 84 academics have female children. If so I wonder how many of them would genuinely feel perfectly happy for their daughters to play rugby on teams that include men who identify as trans women.

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