'Everyone's Game?' LEAP Sports Scotland statement on Scottish Rugby Gender Participation Policy

24th January 2023

We wholeheartedly condemn Scottish Rugby’s decision to ban trans women from playing the sport in Scotland. The new Gender Participation Policy also adds further barriers to trans men and the guidelines for non-binary people are confusing and inconsistent. Whilst this discriminatory blanket policy is in place, the governing body can no longer claim that rugby in Scotland is “Everyone’s Game”

The previous policy and process was already highly restrictive permitting only some trans women to play in the women’s game, as well as allowing for case by case consideration, meaning that there are currently only a few trans women playing in the Scottish game. The new Scottish Rugby Gender Participation Policy means that any trans women as well as trans girls aged 13+ will no longer be able to play at any level. The policy is an outright ban. The policy will not only affect trans women, but additional barriers will be placed on the participation of trans men, who will have to undergo a risk assessment coordinated by their club through a new process.

Scottish Rugby have been clear with us that there is a lack of relevant evidence-based research to support the decisions they are reaching, yet have still chosen to move forward to replicate the policy of the other UK and Irish unions. And despite hearing experiences directly from trans people as part of the process, Scottish Rugby have chosen to focus on hardening regulation rather than improving access and participation pathways. We have consistently called for evidence-based policy-making and the centering of trans people’s voices at the heart of decision making and we are saddened and disappointed by this outcome announced today. This policy is a direct statement to trans people that they are not welcome in rugby across Scotland.

Women’s rugby in Scotland has an inclusive and diverse culture, celebrating all body types and abilities. We know that the majority of women who play rugby across the country will be dismayed and disheartened that their sport has taken this regressive step. We hope that they keep playing, stay engaged, and continue to demand meaningful change from their governing body.

LEAP Sports will continue to work directly with and advocate for trans people and their inclusion in rugby and sport at all levels and are committed to continue to challenge the flawed foundations that this policy is built upon.

Contacts and support

If you are a trans person who will be directly affected by this policy decision and wish to discuss this or wish to get more information on our Trans Women in Sport network, we encourage you to contact us directly via

For media enquiries please contact

Hugh Torrance, Executive Director -

Or Heidi Vistisen, Policy Manager -   

Written on 24th January 2023.