Trans Players

I received an e-mail this week from a team that has a new transgender (or transexual?) player. They are seeking advice from any women’s teams that have been in similar situations.

In this particular case, it’s a pre-operative male who identifies herself as a woman and is taking hormones, etc. The team notes that she is enthusiastic to learn the sport and has been regularly attending practices and team events, despite not yet having a chance to play in a game.

I have heard of other situations with post-operative players on women’s teams as well.

I did a little research and USA Rugby follows IRB and International Olympic Committee rules that state a trans player may only compete for a team of their new gender if they are three two years post-operative. The gray area with this is that it is for all (CLARIFICATION) discussing only games that count towards a national championship.

The territorial and state union for this team do not have rules to follow for this situation yet, so it falls back to following what USA Rugby says.

So here’s the issue though … could this player, a biologically pre-operative male that lives life almost completely as a woman, looks like a woman and even her medical records and health insurance state that she is a woman, play in games that DO NOT count towards a national championship? Like b-side games and spring non-league games?

Leave your thoughts, past experiences and opinions in the comments.

In the comments: I think I caused some confusion above … trans players are NOT allowed to play in any game that DO count towards a national championship until they are two years post-operative (thanks for the correction K-Train). What the team e-mailing wants to know concerns a pre-op trans player being allowed TO PLAY in games that DO NOT counts towards a national championship … like b-sides, social games, spring non-conference games, etc.

A few comments brought up the bigger hits from these players, and one commenter mentioned the greater density in muscle mass in the male body …

And Kerrie – can you clarify your comment … in your first sentence, you say “I firmly believe that mtfs should be allowed to play pre-op as long as it is a league game that counts towards championships.” Did you mean as long as it is NOT a league game that counts towards championships? Or are you saying you believe all trans players, whatever their current state, should be allowed to play in all games?

I agree there definitely needs to be some clear guidelines and rules related to this, especially for women’s rugby. I can only assume trans players of either gender would feel most comfortable on a women’s team. USA Rugby on down needs to help teams sort through the gray areas in what is clearly an already cultural gray area.

More discussion? How about just everyone’s opinions? Even if you have never dealt with this situation before …

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39 Comments

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39 responses to “Trans Players

  1. Anonymous

    I’m very interested to see what responses to this are…if the rules say they can play for games that count towards nationals then it should be allowed for all games. As of the whole issue within itself…*shrugs*

  2. Anonymous

    i have played with a trans player…she is a sweetheart, but just hits a bit harder than i could even imagine!

  3. K-Train

    The guidelines are actually two years post surgery. And they’re just that, guidelines, each situation is supposed to be decided on individually because of the complexity of the process. For what it’s worth at least two players in MARFU have done the paperwork.

  4. Anonymous

    I think it is a topic that needs to be addressed by USA Rugby sooner rather than later as it has been in the buzz of conversation of many teams throughout the country.

    I have never in my life experienced (in terms of force and pain)hits like I’ve received from MTF players…they are far harder than any hit taken from any WNT member. One hit which resulted in a (thankfully not too serious) hip injury.

    While I don’t know a lot about hormone treatments, surgery etc – I do know that muscle mass of genetic males are far denser and stronger than that of females. Males fast twitch muscles fire at a faster speed and acceleration than women giving them more strength and power. I think the risks of potential injury should be proactively addressed by USA Rugby, especially at the upper levels of competition – my fear is that at some point (without intention of course) – someone will become seriously injured from the impact of far superior strength in contact.

  5. Kerrie

    I firmly believe that mtfs should be allowed to play pre-op as long as it is a league game that counts towards championships. Those that qualify according to the USA rugby rules should be allowed to play no matter what. I’ve got to say it really peeved me hearing some of the comments about the trans players who attended Pumpkinfest. Having two ftms on my home team, and heard the slurs we’ve received by certain male teams on tour, well lets just say I’d have hoped that a women’s club side would be more accepting and mature then a men’s collegiate team. Speaking of which does anyone know the regulations involving pre-op ftms if they are on a hormone regime?

    oh yea. And hits harder my ass. I’ve been tackled by a 6’3″ 250 lb bio women and there are plenty more like her in the circuit. Something tells me she has a comprable hit to someone taking female hormones for over three years.

  6. Katy

    i think this is such an interesting discussion! particularly given the fact that female players are allowed to (and often do) compete on male teams when there is no female team available. i cite staples high school as an example. one of their best players on the boys’ team is a girl. this doesn’t even take transgender issues into account, but questions the “place” or “right” of biologically opposite players to take the field together. i guess i don’t really have anything smart to add, but i think it’s a fascinating discussion. i’m eager to keep reading.

  7. Anonymous

    BE AWARE OF VERY, VERY SERIOUS LIBEL AND DEFAMATION LEGAL SUITS CONCERNING EVEN GOSSIPING ABOUT WHOM IS SUSPECTED OF BEING TRANSGENDERED… THIS IS THE SAME AS CALLING SOMEONE A “COMMUNIST” OR A “WITCH”… A YOUNG PLAYER OR COACH MAY FIND THEMSELVES ON THE WRONG END OF VERY EXPENSIVE LITIGATION BY MAKING FALSE ACCUSATIONS OR STATEMENTS…

  8. Abigail

    I read the problem was women did not fancy needing to prove they are female. Any woman with strong features or size 42 boot was under suspicion. Witch hunts are scary for everyone. Maybe if the bloke is not big, say less than 12 stone, then it be ok???

  9. Stephanie

    While politically and morally I’m all for mtf integration into the female identity, I think this is more of a scientific issue than a political one.

    Where the IOC falls short on their ruling of the two years of hormones is that there are no full contact sports in the Olympics. They’re talking about performance, not so much size.

    yeah, there’s bumping in basketball, but no where near the full contact of rugby.

    What needs to be proven is whether male body density/mass ever levels out to female levels, especially whether it does in two years of hormone treatment.

  10. Anonymous

    Olympic full contact sports: boxing, hockey, judo, wrestling, tae-kwon-do, etc…

  11. Justin

    will the storm troopers be coming for the trannies but not the lesbians?

    so much for the rainbow:(

  12. Anonymous

    litigation could also be a potential issue to both host clubs and USA Rugby upon a severe injury.

  13. Anonymous

    What are we saying?? It is better to have muscle bound, testosterone injecting XXs than castrated, estrogen saturated XYs?? Or, are we saying that a certain segment of the population should be excluded from sports all together? And will it be us lesbians who decide who are first and second class human beings? Maybe we should ask a red-neck, southern Baptist what they think of us all.

    Fact is any sport at an elite level becomes a freak show. Look at all the 7 foot men in basketball (and 6’6’’ women). Female Olympic sprinters have higher muscle density and longer proportional legs than 90% of the male population. Mohammed Ali’s daughter can whop 99% of men in full contact. In a complex team sport like rugby no one becomes a great without hard work and dedication – something that transcends gender.

    This whole thing could become TRAGICALLY overblown with terrible repercussions throughout the GLBT community. I do not think many men will be cutting off their wieners just to play women’s rugby. Men are typically fearful of losing their bada-bings from the youngest age. And the ones that do are likely more interested in fashion and cosmetics than flopping around in the mud.

  14. Liz

    For those who want to learn a little more about this subject and how it is beginning to be addressed in women’s sports overall, here are some useful links from the Women’s Sports Foundation and their “It Takes a Team” Educational Campaign for LGBT Issues in Sport

    Participation of Transsexual Athletes in Women’s Sports

    Chalk Talk: Inclusion of Transgender Athletes on Sports Teams

  15. Anonymous

    the wnt and top d1 women are strong and athletic enough to handle any man… i think the hazard is with the smaller d2 and d3 women…

  16. rachel

    of course I too went to google to find more information. There isn’t a lot of specific information on contact sports.

    the articles on the Women’s Sports Foundation were the best I found, but I also found an article from UK Sports. It seems UK Sport got an exemption to the Gender Recognition Act that does “not give transsexual people the automatic right to participate in competitive sport alongside other people of their acquired gender”. And that transsexual people maybe restricted or prohibited in competing in “genderaffected sports” where “the physical strength, stamina,or physique of average persons of one gender would
    put them at a disadvantage to average persons of the
    other gender”

    UK Sport article

    This exemption along with a lot of other information was quoted in Women in Sport and Physical Activity Journal from Spring 2006 Journal Article

  17. Sara

    maybe that’s why they review it case by case. the average person is just as weird a concept as the average family having 1.2 kids. some men only weigh 130 pounds where on the wnt many women weigh 200+ pounds and can squat upwards of 300 pounds. i think the “motor skills” part is silly. many boys start sports at a younger age but we women have much better motor skills than men. its like by saying men cannot play with us we are admitting we’re incapable of competing which is opposite every feminist ideal. as long as the dude is not too big…

  18. Anonymous

    USA Rugby might want the extra funding which goes with becoming an Olympic sport so they stay with IOC rules. This is so exotic it’s not worth risking everything else.

  19. Anonymous

    Re: “Olympic full contact sports: boxing, hockey, judo, wrestling, tae-kwon-do, etc…”

    Just to compare apples to apples, Women’s Ice Hockey is NOT full contact (no checking allowed) and all of the others listed divide opponents by weight class, and none of them involve the running speed component of the strength/speed equation.

    And yes we’ve all played against women who are 6+ ft tall and weigh over 220 lbs, but they are props and locks. How many times are they the fullback for a team with a fullback’s pace? In my 15 years of experience with the game, only when the woman in question is a mtf transgendered player.

    I have played with women who are some of the best rugby players in the country, and who work out more than I sleep to be the strongest and fittest in the game. And they will NEVER attain the same level of strength and speed as a moderately athletic biological male can do with minimal effort.

    Nobody’s saying a guy is going to have a sex change in order to be great at women’s rugby. However, the safety concerns by themselves are serious ones that won’t go away just because we convince ourselves that any woman can be just as strong as any man and that we are empowered and should include everyone no matter what.

    If anyone has documented scientific evidence that after 2 years (or any amount of time) post op, a mtf transgendered person has none of the physical advantages of their XY biology in terms of capacity to build strength and speed, that would perhaps change the discussion.

  20. Anonymous

    from the looks of nz in the wc, there are plenty of big, fast women about…

    granted some people will always have advantages over others, that long legged and muscle bound usa back who scored a hat trick in the wc has physical gifts beyond all others. maybe the mtfs get a bit more of an advantage but life in general is not always fair. i’ve seen those marfu mtfs and they’re not even that good. renee richards never won wimbledon. plus people get hurt all the time rugby. it is silly to convince ourselves that it is safe and there are plenty of non-contact sports for worried players.

    most importantly it is an ethical and moral wrong to totally exclude a segment of the population, especially one so small in numbers. i hear people complaining all the time about the samoans being so big and fast. there is definitely something in their genetic makeup which gives them an advantage over non-samoans. should we exclude them too? a large number of injuries i’ve heard of are from samoans and they are far, far more numerous in rugby than the transgendered.

    i agree with the post stating this could become overblown. from what women in the northeast are saying its just that the marfu player in question is so unusually big and heavy. maybe weight should be a factor in usa rugby’s criteria? the “weight-speed combo” for lighter players is much more spurious…

  21. Sara

    given the bush administration’s stance against gay marriage, making a big deal of this in a sport played by so many lesbians would not be proactive. we can always bully the transgendered out of their basic human rights and dignity later…

  22. Anonymous

    There’s lots of talk about needing clarification, and at the USA Rugby and IOC level, there is. They’ve done the research, they’ve consulted MDs, biologists, psychologists, gender-ologists, every other sort of =ologist, and they’ve formed a policy. Did you know the IOC has a medical committee that addresses this stuff? USA Rugby as well? They do 🙂

    As the age of the players decrease, ie, college, high school, etc, it become less and less of an issue.

    Does it make people uncomfortable? Heck yeah, but, that is how we grow and progress as individuals. Get a little uncomfortable ….

    I watched today as competent high level collegiates developed a healthy fear of a 200 lb, 5’8 college women who’s a fast-twitch tackling monster. Should I sit her because it’s not fair? Should the DII women’s club with the USA WNT scrum half sit her because it’s not fair to play her in D2? Should the USA wing who scored that hat trick not get to play club side rugby because it’s not fair?

    We can’t legislate everything. Nobody goes through what MTFs go through on a whim, and certainly they don’t do it to get a competitive edge in sports. And for the record, they aren’t dudes, or blokes – they are women. Figuratively and literally, they gave up alot to become so, so could we please cut them a little slack and, if they’ve been blessed by the IOC and USARugby, could we do the same?

  23. Anonymous

    I do not think preop mtf players should be allowed to play until after surgery(nor does USA Rugby in its eligibility guidelines). Quite often identity searching gays and lesbians go through a phase where they consider themselves transsexuals yet later realize they are happily gay. Years ago at the Atlanta Rainbow center they actually had a budgetary problem from soul searching gays/lesbians consuming the money targeted for primary transsexuals. The number of actual transsexuals who went through to surgery was a relatively tiny proportion – its rare.

    As far as actual mtfs playing on women’s sides, I do not think USA Rugby will change its position. In a sense women’s rugby in general is still considered by many to be an “alternate lifestyle”. Certainly no one wants to be hurt by an outrageously huge mtf prop. But on the other hand, in the USA there is commonly a complaint that we have trouble getting quality competition for our women. Maybe a few mtfs, with their supposed athleticism and earlier training in sports, will actually raise the bar a bit. Maybe the only real competition that hat-trick scoring WC Eagle can get is the mtf fullback.

  24. Justin

    As a solicitor specializing in GBLT matters I’d like to comment on the post mentioning litigation. There CAN BE foundation for a defamation lawsuit even if the accusation is TRUE. The test is whether the intent of the accuser was malicious or egregious.

    For example, a private citizen who is Jewish or Armenian may choose to keep their religion private for fear of persecution. An accusation of this, even though it is true, may subject the private citizen to financial harm(ie loss of customers). Since our laws in the UK and States clearly protect citizens in terms of race and religion the intent can ONLY be malicious. The accused could therefore sue for substantial damages.

    In the case of USA Rugby and IOC, they have clearly and PUBLICALY(eg on their website) published a policy confirming the eligibility of the transgendered. Everyone who plays has signed MULTIPLE documents confirming they are unquestionably cognizant of this policy. Therefore, the intent of any accuser CAN ONLY be malicious. Witnesses to the accusation can be surprisingly many (ie an estranged lover, a betrayed friend) and the source could be idle gossip.

    More to the point, a gay or lesbian accuser maybe held even MORE financially culpable by a judge or jury precisely because he/she should be aware of harm that could befall another member of the GBLT community. A coach may reasonably ask the question but only if he/she can document he/she consistently asks the question of other players(eg bio women). Most bio women understandably take it as a wild insult when asked if they are transgendered (as mentioned in another post here) so the question can put a coach in an awkward position.

    Another tactic, often employed in Hollywood, is to file expensive legal motions against accusers. This has been done by actors(and protecting studios) since the 1940s. Essentially the accused uses his/her financial resources to overwhelm a financially struggling journalist or paparazzi. No one wants to be involved in a lawsuit so it’s quite an effective strategy.

    A previous commenter has made an appeal to cut the transgendered “some slack” based on everyone’s humanity. If you do not have the humanity in your heart, then consider your wallet!

  25. Anonymous

    Thanks to Blondie for providing a space for this conversation. It’s important.

    I think it’s on the ruggers who are mtfs to unselfishly consider the guidelines and to evaluate their own progress toward transition. The rugby community is amazing, and it’s a testament to it that mtfs want to be a part. But bio women’s hesitations about this issue are based on very real threats. Women deal with male physicality in the world all the time, and women’s rugby is a unique opportunity for women to express their own and be strong. I think most ruggers want to welcome mtfs, but the trans players need to be equally responsible for respecting the guidelines as USA rugby is for setting them.

    On a side note, this discussion would be much more constructive if people would quit threatening lawsuits. That’s totally unnecessary.

  26. Justin

    To clarify my earlier post, NO ONE is threatening a legal action. My goal is to make readers aware of the existence of potential lawsuits such that they can avoid them and, implicitly, avoid hurting others.

    As quoted in my examples, be the victims Jewish, Armenian or transgendered, people are not always aware of the severe harm they may be doing others – but ignorance of the law or harm is NOT an excuse. What seems like idle gossip could destroy another’s relationships, business, or profession. Surprisingly, and shockingly, most of the accused are not even transgendered! The number of anonymous posters here is a clear testament to how scared everyone is of this discussion.

    There is an obvious lack of understanding of the different stages of the transgendered. None of this is “selfish”. You are totally correct in stating, or implying, that preop and the recently transitioned must be quite careful in following guidelines since they may present a danger to competitors. Yet there are likely others in men’s and women’s rugby who are NOT recently transitioned. Some may have transitioned long ago, when they were teenagers, or before puberty. They could be the teammates whom you least suspect.

    It is NOT reasonable to suggest that a long time postop person who has maintained secrecy over the years about such an unusual medical condition will be coming forward – even to the “amazing” rugby community. And to what purpose? To satisfy the curiosity of others? Does it seem like defiance that an individual would not unveil private facts? Such was the rationale for my post about the potential for defamation.

    The USA Rugby and IOC guidelines clearly state that only 2 years postop is required. It was doctors, scientists, and informed panels who formulated this policy. So, hypothetically, why would a man or woman who transitioned many years ago, with complete privacy, be “selfish” in not coming forward? They are eligible anyways!! And, coming forward might needlessly risk their life. Would USA Rugby or the IOC run unconsented background checks (which are VERY illegal for this purpose) only to find out someone is already eligible? Not likely.

    To close, I reckon many men and women have not even read the USA Rugby or IOC guidelines. If you want to create a special sports union that has specific rules with an “opportunity for women to express their own and be strong” then you are certainly entitled both in Europe and in the States. That is an admirable goal. But within the IOC and USA Rugby the decision has already been made.

    Regards.

  27. Anonymous

    I apologize for the lack of clarity in my post that Jstin just replied to. Blondie’s original post talked about a person who didn’t meet the guidelines — a pre op person. When the guidelines are clearly met … well, as justin said, it’s been decided. Yes if somebody’s eligible they’re elgible. It’s just that in Blondie’s original post it sounded like the player was not quite there.
    And for people wanting to come forward to the community, I didn’t mean spilling their guts about their medical records I only meant join a club and play.

  28. Anonymous

    speaking on injury… a friend just emailed me that a northeast club played a wc xv player on their ‘b’ side this past saturday. the wc player, a bio woman, is so strong that the beginner players were all terrified of injury…

  29. Sarah

    In response to the above post – I’m sure everyone who has played rugby has been forced to play A side players on B side teams, due to shortages in positions. I have never seen the referenced player react to that situation with anything other than decorum, control and a willingness to help others learn the game. Yes, she’s very strong – and I’d rather be hit by her then by a newbie player who doesn’t know how to tackle yet, it’s much safer for me.

    In response to what this comment section was really about – as a small player who regularly lines up opposite WNT players, in practice and games – a big strong player is a big strong player, it doesn’t matter what she started life as. From all the research links that have been posted, it looks like the docs have done their studies and any birth gender advantages will be negated by 2 years of hormones. As for size advantages – there are plenty of those from bio women, and we clearly aren’t going to start playing rugby by weight class. So really – what’s the problem?

  30. Anonymous

    I talked to a trans person at the GLBT center about this all… She said that it’s usually easy to spot a preop and recent postop because they often have an odd and garish look to them besides obvious things like a shaving shadow. The mtfs especially have difficulty mastering makeup and clothes. Any mtf with a reasonably natural or attractive look is likely way postop. She said long term postops may react strongly to questions, as if they are fighting for their life, so the questioner needs to have a clear objective such as an obvious eligibility violation(which wouldn’t apply to a long term postop under IRB rules anyways). She didn’t sound as litigious as other commenters here but said that long term postops are accustomed to fighting for their rights so they can be rather crafty in countering. Her words were “the needlessly curious might unexpectedly find themselves in a legal house-of-mirrors”. She wondered why someone would go through all the trouble of becoming a woman and then playing rugby. I took THAT as an insult;)

  31. Anonymous

    I think it is a question of safety. I am worried and concerned for the smaller players on my team. They feel there is a sense of unfairness when they step onto the field and I agree.
    I also think we are forgetting what an honor and achievement it is to be named one of the 15 to represent your club. I haven’t really read a lot of these blogs and now i know why. Go grab some sunshine players!!

  32. Anonymous

    I have been in this situation as a captain on a team. I had to tell the player that she could practice with us, but not play. Well, my situation was slightly different. It was a hermaphrodite born female, made male at puberty when her junk dropped, then realized she was really a female in college. She was getting surgery soon and had lived as a female for 3 years. Birth certificate said female, driver’s license said male. USA Rugby said we still had to wait 2 years post surgery.
    I thought this was ridiculous. There is no way she could play with a men’s team and she wasn’t allowed to play with the women. So, these ladies should’t be allowed to play rugby for 5+ years of their lives? There are only so many years we are healthy and vigorous enough to play. I also found that she was on so many hormone cocktails (and would be her entire life), that she became enhausted quickly. She was no more of a danger on the field than many women I have played with or against.

  33. Anonymous

    You also must consider that these women are taking hormones long before the surgery. They will already have somewhat developed breasts and have greatly diminished male characteristics.

  34. Kieran

    No one wants to be hurt. But, as others above mentioned, USA Rugby is neither going to separate by weight class nor contradict IRB and IOC rulings. Consider how much disparity there is in size with our men’s teams. Some 9s are barely 150lbs yet some locks, who run 4.6 second forties, weigh close to 300lbs. Do you think a man’s clavicle or eyeball is much stronger than a woman’s? I had my nose broken twice in one season.

    If anyone is under any assumption that rugby is safe, below is an excerpt from the wavier ruggers sign every season(note the phrase “I FULLY UNDERSTAND”). If anyone is scared about the physical side of rugby they can play soccer, tennis, badminton or ping-pong instead. There is also step aerobics and ballet:))

    I FULLY UNDERSTAND that: (a) USA RUGBY Activities involve risks and dangers of
    SERIOUS BODILY INJURY, INCLUDING PERMANENT DISABILITY, PARALYSIS
    AND DEATH
    (“Risks”); (b) these Risks and dangers may be caused by my own actions, or
    inaction’s, the actions or inaction’s of others participating in the Activity, the condition in which
    the Activity takes place. Or THE NEGLIGENCE OF THE “RELEASEES” NAMED BELOW; (c)
    there may be other risks and social and economic losses either not known to me or not readily
    foreseeable at this time; and I FULLY ACCEPT AND ASSUME ALL SUCH RISKS AND
    ALL RESPONSIBILITY FOR LOSSES, COSTS, AND DAMAGES
    incurred as a result of my
    Participation in the Activity.

  35. Anonymous

    what’s all this nancy boy talk then!?? rugby’s a proper hooligans game where a murder of louts beat the christ outta each other before pints. you lassies are worried some girlie benders might wrinkle yah focks????

  36. Anonymous

    I’m concerned about women being injured but not due to the transgendered. Many young lesbians become involved in rugby as part of a lifestyle change. This can be a problem with women who’ve had little exposure to competitive sports. Emotional connections might be made based on rugby’s social aspects, as a way to meet other women, or butch persona. There’s nothing wrong with this, but inexperienced athletes may wander unprepared into a dangerous sport. Unless it’s a properly run youth league, rugby probably should not be a female’s first sport.

    In reference to an earlier remark about “honor and achievement”, let’s not use those words when excluding any group in society for any activity in life. I’m sure the transgendered feel they’ve experienced plenty of unfairness too. We’re assuming these mtfs are representatives of the male world when, by the very nature of what they’ve become, they’re most definitely not. Also, a good coach and teammates will emotionally reward players based on hard work and dedication, not natural advantages.

  37. Anonymous

    The USA Rugby’s policy to follow IOC policy, just because they are the IOC, is misguided. While the IOC does indeed oversee several contact sports (ex. Judo, Tae Kwon Do, wrestling), all of its contact sports have weight classes. While weight classes are somewhat of a blunt instrument, they do help equalize the playing field when MTFs carry extra mass.

    Rugby has no mechanism to do so. Inclusion of transgenders persons in all walks of life is important. Sport, by its very nature is a competitive pursuit, where having a hormonal head start is valuable.

    It’s one thing to have an advantage in a sport such as mountain biking or rowing. At least there, if a MTF beats you, they just beat you on the clock. In contact sports like rugby, not only do they beat you on the scoreboard, but they conceivably beat you physically.

  38. Anonymous

    Let MTFs play esp. if they’ve already had years of hormones. I play on a college team of all bio girls and believe me, there are quite a few who could hit me harder than the average male. I’ve also watched the local women’s club team play and they could take on a men’s side. I just seriously doubt that a MTF would have such an overwhelming advantage that one would be justified in excluding her from play. Plus, if that person hits a little harder maybe you’ll have more motivation to run a little faster.

  39. Kate Jr.

    Hi y’all Kate Jr here…

    Sorry I didn’t know about this thread last year, I was playing rugby, and not doing all that much surfing. I think someone on the team mentioned it, but I was probably recovering from a nasty tackle or something around that time in Sept.

    For those of you who don’t know me I am a very proud member of the Washington Furies, a new Referee for the PSRFR (just passed the test last week…yay!) and a former (but proud) member of the Austin Valkyries. I support USA Women’s Rugby at every opportunity.

    I AM a MTF rugger, and have played with and partied with MANY of you over the past 4-5 years at any of a dozen-or-so tournaments or development weekends.

    Here are THE official rules…and if anyone needs to know more they can contact me.

    1) USA Rugby follows the USOC and IRB follows the IOC (the US and International Olympic Committee) on eligibility for transsexual athletes.

    2) USOC defers to the IOC for it’s rules

    3) The IOC ruled on May 17th, 2004 that transsexual athletes must meet the following 3 requirements to participate in the athletics they govern. All athletics follow the same guideline.

    a) The athlete must have legally changed their gender, and it must be recognized by their country’s government (i.e. change to the legal docs like passports, social security and the like to go from ‘M’ to ‘F’)

    b) The athlete must have completed sexual reassignment surgery, and have a letter from their doctor to support this fact.

    c) The athlete must complete two years of post-operative hormone replacement therapy under medical supervision.

    4) USA Rugby requires the following in order for the athlete to participate:

    a) The athlete must provide proof of legal gender change (copy of drivers license, passport, or other such documents should suffice)

    b) The athlete must provide proof of completed SRS (I sent my doctors letter as certification)

    c) The athlete must wait until at least the 2nd anniversary of their SRS date to participate in Rugby under their reassigned-gender.

    5) Once the requirements are met, there are NO LIMITATIONS on the events the athlete may participate in. Once eligible, they may progress to any level of play…It is worthy to note that there are players at the international level on southern hemisphere teams who have completed this process.

    Unfortunately, due to various physiological reasons it is not possible for pre-op athletes of either birth gender to play in their selected gender do to advantages/disadvantages gained via the primary sex hormones.

    If you need to know anything else, just ask. I am always willing to help respectful ruggers understand the process, and the reasoning behind the IOC decision.

    Cheers,
    Kate Jr

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