The reality of transgender women in women's rugby

  1. It's surprising to me that no one seems to be bringing up the possibility that the RFU has made the decision to legally protect themselves. My default assumption with these types of decisions from these types of organizations is that their primary concern is always their own financial well-being. We see this over and over and over again in other contexts, why would this case be any different?

  2. In addition, the RFU has positioned itself well in the scenario that if they were sued over the blanket ban the courts would either enforce the RFU decision or they would overturn it and set the precedent for all sporting bodies in the UK and possibly further afield, which is unlikely to happen, but overturning the blanket ban would likely be the only court ruling and not an additional financial penalty.

  3. UK minister for sports was telling sports to do the ban so it potential is to protect themselves or money, considering they won't release any evidence.

  4. The RFU made £50 million profit last year and will have legal insurance so I don't rate the limit liability excuse. The number of players is very small and therefore the risk is also relatively small. Additionally the old policy contained sufficient cavieats to allow for a robust defence.

  5. I think a big issue here is that the existing rules around testosterone and case by case vetos are actually really sensible; but there's been a big push (outside of sport) to self ID and there's a lack of nuance available when stating unambiguously that transwomen are women. The two issues have been conflated.

  6. Thing is, nobody who’s pushed for self-ID that I’m aware of has said it should overrule sporting rules. Self ID is purely a means to make it easier for trans people to begin the process of transitioning, it’s not in fact a belief that anybody can declare themselves trans and for that to be the end of it.

  7. My (probably uninformed) take is that testosterone makes up the majority of the difference in strength (but not size), but some of the muscle gained during male puberty will remain if it continues to be trained. As such it probably makes sense to exclude trans women from the professional level, but it doesn't really make sense at an amateur level.

  8. These rulings against trans players seem to be based around the idea that men are transitioning into women to specifically target the women's game and dominate it. As a cis man, I can't speak for the trans experience in general but the reality seems to be that trans women players are a pretty small group in the first place, and they aren't trying to do anything other than do a fun physical activity where they can bond with other women in the process.

  9. But what if they're just pretending to be trans so they can go dominate the amateur ranks of women's rugby for all the money and widespread prestige that come with tha–wait

  10. I'm wondering if it has anything to do with on field player safety but rather perceived threat on "locker room" culture. Can't possibly have a trans "pervert" there to sexually assault all these women in the changing rooms... The whole thing reeks of transphobia to me and such a non issue for the half dozen trans players in England.

  11. The anti-trans folks seem to be wildly overestimating the prestige, fame, and money attached to women's rugby.

  12. When we see the lengths of harm some people are ready to apply to their bodies just to get into professional level (drugs for example), it isn't that far fetched.

  13. Why is this issue taking up so much space on this sub when it was revealed that there were only SIX transgender players in the entire RFU?

  14. They aren’t necessarily the best people to consult. Players are naturally competitive. Rugby being a confrontational sport, they are likely to say “fuck yeah, bring it on I’ll take anyone on”. That might be brave but it’s not necessarily wise. I’m not in favour of trans women in individual sports either but at least they won’t get their head caved in in a swimming pool. That’s a possibility on the rugby pitch.

  15. There’s a reason biological Men aren’t allowed to play in women’s’ rugby. Does that mean women rugby players are incapable of tackling a man? Of course not. Identifying as a man doesn’t change that.

  16. Because they dodged the main argument against it in one of the first tweets and then went on a tirade about social justice when it’s not about social justice.

  17. They already lied in the third* tweet and I’m not going further than that. 5nmol/L (they can’t even type the unit correctly) is almost double the top end of the “normal” range for females. So what else are they lying about in it?

  18. Studies have shown that even beyond 2 years, the muscle mass of a transgender woman does not fall to levels of a woman. Bone density takes even longer to fall to expected levels.

  19. Let’s take the example of your average amateur rugby player. Say they are 6ft tall and 90kgs. They are average strength and speed for an amateur male rugby player.

  20. That's a fair question, and why proper studies are needed. Anecdotally, I've never seen more than two of the size/speed/strength maintained in mtf players I've played against and with. So by my non scientific study of played experiences, it's totally fine.

  21. Thank you for this post. I can't say it's ever affected me or I've given it a second thought, but I love rugby and think everyone else who also loves the sport should have access to it in a reasonable way

  22. Every trans exclusion is based on hypothetical danger as if they don’t exist yet. No evidence is ever supplied as to realised risk.

  23. No evidence is supplied because the amount of trans players in the game is so low. Hypothetical scenarios are acceptable in this case because it’s unethical to wait around for something bad to happen just to prove it can happen. Prevention is better than cure. That’s why the RFU have acted now.

  24. Some people base it on a belief that transwomen are not women and therefore shouldn't play women's rugby by definition.

  25. Why does every single person have to be included? Life isn’t fair, some group is going to get the short end of the stick.

  26. As a club level cis woman player, I am all for trans woman inclusion, and I have yet to meet a single female player that disagrees. The discussions on Facebook, at socials, etc-every single person concerned about it is male, without fail.

  27. This was my thinking. I think you would lose more potential players wanting to included a tiny minority. Many won't want to play because of perceived/actual unfair advantage and increased risk. Slowing the growth of women's rugby.

  28. I think i'm done trying to discus this rationally. Because it appears to just not be possible. All I can say is rugby is a sport for all Shapes, all Sizes, all Beliefs, all skills levels - unless you happen to be a trans women, in which case fuck off because you're such a danger to others.

  29. It can be done rationally but I fear a lot are coming from a place of dishonesty. As I posted elsewhere in this thread my bet is it's more to do with perceived locker room threats that's been pervasive with TERFs. Much like how I reckon there's pretty widespread homophobia in men's international teams and why we see so little in terms of openly gay players.

  30. My biggest takeaway from this is that 6 people are affected? Absolutely mad that there is the need to legislate it if it's that small of a number.

  31. Lots of very good points by others but one that I don't get is the lying about the size of female players, saying that most are ✨over 90kg✨ and putting it in funky stars doesn't help. The main gov study on this (

  32. That is a study of professional players from New Zealand, not community players from Yorkshire. I don't know the average weight of their players and neither do you.

  33. Wait, do you think all women have equal bone/muscle density? If this was a genuine concern should just have lower/upper weight limits for rugby.

  34. I played on a women’s rugby team in the US when I was in college. This debate pisses me off because the people with the most bigoted things to say a) don’t actually care about women or women’s sports, and are using this as an argument to deny trans women’s right to exist and b) have never played sports with trans women. I have. And you know what? It didn’t matter to me because I treated it the same way I did when a cis woman would be faster, stronger and better than me.

  35. In addition, the newsworthy examples we've seen in swimming and weightlifting are trans women who had trained since age 5 and performed at high (i.e. national) levels during puberty. Like no shit that someone who has trained since childhood and competed at a national level in high school is going to have an advantage over a lot of athletes in their sport.

  36. Its pretty shocking how obsessed the British media and establishment have become with punching down at trans people in recent times. Anti-trans bigotry definitely exists in Ireland but its nowhere near as prominent in media/politics thankfully. Hopefully the RFU will cop on to themselves, cunts.

  37. It's not bigotry. People are genuinely trying to figure the issue out using data. Trying to smear well intentioned scientific analysis as some form of hatred is annoying and counter-productive

  38. I'll acknowledge that I'm probably not going to change my mind on the matter particularly easily, but a six-player study is hardly the end of discussion, surely?

  39. Mate, when I was 14 we played v a women's team just for shits and giggles, they were all adults. We absolutely smoked em. Physically we were much stronger, at 14.

  40. Bone density and muscle mass and more importantly, common sense end the conversation. What kind of man wants to play a full contact sport against woman also.

  41. I feel this is a non issue and a mute point. Rugby is not about size or strength, it is more about mental skill. A smarter player will almost always win vs a dumber but more athletic player. This is try in most sports. Look at most professional rugby players their biggest asset is their mind, not their bodies.

  42. I agree about the mental component of rugby and I also think it's one of the only sports in the world where every body size gets ago. But I disagree that size and strength aren't a huge part of it. Every World Cup they publish the average weights and heights of players and both have been steadily rising year on year. Player's are bigger, faster, and stronger than they used to be. If strength didn't matter why do professionals spend so much of their time in the gym? Players spend significantly more time working on their physical attributes than their mental conditioning. There's no doubt that parts of rugby are cerebral and certain players have some mental superiority but no professional team is choosing an Einstein level intellect in a small body over a physical monster. I see it in my own amateur team, we have some seriously smart players that are just too small in their positions to ever be effective. We have a wicked smart 7 but he'd be 65kg wringing wet and can be cleared out from a ruck by most other players with their hands.

  43. After all the player safety issues raised in the mens game over the last week, why are they pushing the agenda to have the same problems in the women’s game? It’s about player safety, end of.

  44. Biological males competing against biological woman in one of the most dangerous contact sports poses an obvious and significant risk to biological woman, even after hormone therapy has been taken by biologicaly male trans-women. I think this is a relatively moderate and sober minded opinion. I've noticed the main opposition to excluding biologicaly male trans-women from the competing with biological males is less about being "bigoted" transphobes who want to exude, vilify, or not regognise trans-womans right to exist, but rather about protecting woman's safety and giving woman equal opportunity to excel in the sport. The opposition is fundimentaly a feminist position. Now, I'll say personally I don't mind how people "identify". I support it. But let's protect woman's sport, shall we ?

  45. A simple question would be whether a trans woman would be willing to compete against men? If the answer is yes then there's a problem as they see themselves on an equal footing. If the answer is no, because the men now have a biological advantage over them, then that is also the problem that the biological women face. The issue is not one of a lack of willingness for inclusion, it's that unfortunately a trans woman now no longer easily fits into either playing category.

  46. The rules weren't designed to suit the individual cases being highlighted here and where any action has been taken those rules have been shoddily adapted in an effort to conform to one bias or another, for or against.

  47. Currently the top three posts on this sub are all related to this trans policy, and frankly no one has said a single original thing on this topic in months. Bone density this, testosterone levels that, diverse body types this, case-by-case that. How many times do we need to rehash this same boring-ass discussion? Either support it or don’t, but it seems like we just seem to see the same tired talking points trotted out in post after post.

  48. Wow. Haven’t even got past the second reply and I see the amount of effort they put into this post. Good on them, looking forward to reading

  49. I really agree with the message of getting women to play sport. I would however add that the benefits of being a man do not stop at testosterone. The skeletal structure is a huge advantage for those who were born male. This shouldn’t matter on a social scale where winning isn’t the most important thing but I feel it is disrespectful to women professionals to say that their competition doesn’t matter.

  50. Did you read the thread? It clearly addressed the "issues" of retained muscle mass from male puberty, the fact that there's minimal evidence to suggest it's an issue from any perspective, and it's grassroots sports so it doesn't matter.

  51. If a 6'4 brick shithouse can be decked by a 5'0 scrum half and injuries are due to poor tackle technique rather than differences in body size then why do we segregate teams into 'men' and 'women' anyway? The arguments made in this Twitter thread are all a pretty effective takedown of gender segregation. Maybe ending segregation and having mixed teams is the answer, like in Quidditch.

  52. If the goal is injury reduction, you're probably onto something. I recall playing coed footy and flag football, and the vibe is way more mellow, the flow is deliberately slow to allow women to be competitive, and hyperagressive (literal) arms races is strongly discouraged.

  53. I think the issue I can see is one about getting more women in the game at grass roots as they indicated in the post. I would imagine many women would walk away/not wish to play with trans individuals due to perceived/actual increased risk or a sense of unfairness. By pushing for a tiny minority to be included you push away a larger possible player base to grow the sport.

  54. I think it’s obvious that some people truly just want to protect the welfare of woman playing against men who are massive and pose a threat to their safety in play. Case by case sounds fair and that would suffice to cover these instances.

  55. To all those saying “only 6 people are affected, why do we care?” Yeah there are 6 trans women currently playing in women’s leagues, but this will affect hundreds of trans women who are now being denied the opportunity to play, and also the access to an on the whole wonderful women’s community that is full of camaraderie, body positivity and fun. Not to mention the obvious health benefits of playing sport.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may have missed