The following letter was sent on 17 August from Federation of Gay Games Vice President of Member Services to World Rugby regarding their proposed new anti- trans rules.
17 August, 2020
To the World Rugby Transgender Working Group,
The Federation of Gay Games understands that World Rugby is proposing to ban all trans women from playing rugby in world level competitions.
The Titanes Rugby Club in Chile first brought this matter to our attention, and we wish to firmly express our position as standing in support of trans inclusion, along with the wider global LGBTQ+ sporting community.
The Federation of Gay Games’ guiding principles are “Participation, Inclusion and Personal Best.” These principles help us govern our day to day operations and having a proposal excluding trans women from women’s rugby teams goes against these principles.
Your proposal does not contain sufficient evidence to promote a global blanket ban of all trans female players. Of course, there are differences between male and female bodies and their associated abilities, but this absolutely has to be considered on an individual basis.
The comparisons made throughout your papers are based on assessments of “typical” people, which is totally insufficient and unfair to draw conclusions from at this level.
It is good that the policy recognises the risks involved from an individual player's perspective, but this needs to go further still. For example, there needs to be careful consideration requiring a trans man to move straight into men's competition as soon as they start their transition.
As much as this is a decision about rugby competitions at an elite global level, it will set an important precedent for all other world level governing bodies, and ultimately all your member unions will look to adopt this stance. That means that this policy has the very real potential to have a global impact at a participation level to ban trans women from playing, and this has to be recognised and considered appropriately.
Therefore, we implore World Rugby Group to review their policy again and not to move forward with their proposal to ban all trans women from playing.
Sport must come from a place of inclusion first, and then find appropriate reasons to exclude if necessary.
William F. McManus
Vice President-Member Services
Federation of Gay Games