New World Rugby policy now adopted

16th October 2020

New World Rugby policy now adopted

An update in response to queries on the World Rugby position

We have had many queries on this issue this week and wanted to provide an update to our supporters. LEAP Sports is hugely disappointed in the announcement last week from World Rugby that it had accelerated its plans and has now adopted its proposed guidance on transgender people playing rugby - effectively banning transgender women playing at elite level. We are deeply concerned that there will be significant ramifications throughout the whole of rugby and sport as a result. 

We have been heartened this week though by the news reported in the Guardian that the RFU have decided that they will not support this position and that the guidance will not apply at domestic level in England. The Scottish Rugby Board have yet to meet and take a final decision and have clarified in a statement on their website today that the existing guidance remains their current policy in the meantime. We will continue to strongly urge the SRU to adopt a position similar to the RFU and similar to many other Rugby Unions from around the world.  

Scottish teams Caledonian Thebans, Glasgow Alphas and Aberdeen Taexali have all stated their clear disagreement with the new World Rugby position and their opposition to it. International Gay Rugby released a statement last week condemning the decision by World Rugby calling it a "devastating decision for the rugby community".  

Details of the proposal came to light back in July, and since then, the National Unions as well as some other stakeholders, have had the opportunity to respond to the proposals.  Many of the National Unions have strongly and publicly stated their opposition to the proposals such as  Rugby CanadaUS Rugby and Australia. In an article last week, New Zealand Rugby said "we aren't convinced the research presented to date shows transwomen present a significantly greater safety risk in women's elite and international competitions" echoing feedback from right across the international community.  

Despite all of this opposition, World Rugby have now adopted the proposals and abandoned their previous plans to take it to their full Council meeting this November which would have given National Unions a vote on the matter.

LEAP Sports have worked to oppose the guidance as part of the UK LGBTIQ+ Sport & Physical Activity Alliance, and we also submitted a detailed response to World Rugby. We are also aware of many other UK organisations submitting detailed responses including Pride Sports, LGBT Sport Cymru, Stonewall and Gendered Intelligence.

Some useful further links and reading on this issue can be found here: 

Ways to show your support

Article in 'The Conversation'

Article from Outsports (which includes links to all the original proposals) 

Consultation response from International Gay Rugby

Written on 16th October 2020.