Rugby

Transgender women can play women's rugby says French federation

France v Italy, Six Nations, Feb 2020
France v Italy, Six Nations, Feb 2020 AFP

The French rugby federation (FFR) announced on Monday it will allow transgender women to play women's rugby as of next season, despite guidelines to the contrary from rugby's world governing body. This comes as France and other countries around the world mark the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia.

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World Rugby, the global governing body for the sport, said last year that after months of research, it had "concluded that safety and fairness cannot presently be assured for women competing against trans women in contact rugby".

It did, however, authorize national federations to implement their own grassroot policies.

The governing body for French rugby, the FFR, has stipulated nonetheless that transgender women "must certify that they have been on hormonal treatment for at least 12 months" and "must not exceed the testosterone threshold of 5 nanomole/litre".

Transgender women still transitioning will therefore be allowed to play women's rugby.

Unanimous decision

The board voted "unanimously" in favour of the authorisations, making the FFR the first of France's national sports federations to allow transgender women to take part in elite sport.

"Rugby is an inclusive, sharing sport, without distinction of sex, gender, origin or religion," FFR vice president Serge Simon said.

"The FFR is against all forms of discrimination and works daily to ensure that everyone can exercise their free will in rugby without constraint."

The president of the CADET (Commission for anti-discrimination and equal treatment), Jean-Bernard Moles said the inclusion was "a big step forward".

The move coincides with France's participation in the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia 2021.

"The fight to bring the LGBT+ community out of secrecy is essential, and we must win it. We will pursue this objective in the future with new campaigns called "no sshhh" and "coming in" to reinforce that no-one should have to hide their homosexuality in the sport," he told the FFR.

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