Transgender women banned from playing rugby

Image - Women's rugby: atsportphoto/shutterstock

Following the Rugby Football Union’s “extensive” review of gender participation in English domestic contact rugby, a vote is set to be taken next week which could see transgender women banned from playing rugby. 

It is highly likely that this decision will go ahead which will make only cisgender women (women assigned female at birth) able to participate in all levels of the sport in England, not just elite competition, as reported by

Currently the RFU’s policy is to “promote equal opportunities to ensure that anyone who wishes to play the game should be able to do so without prejudice”, according to their website. This is part of their effort to “provide a clear framework to enable transgender and non-binary players to participate in rugby.” 

The vote comes after the RFU asked more than 11,000 people in a game-wide survey whether or not transgender women should be allowed to participate on the same team as cis-women. It has also considered scientific evidence and a wide range of views on the matter. 

ITV’s Steve Scott tweeted about the issue last night, saying “Trans women to be banned from ALL women’s rugby in England as the RFU is set to agree to “a policy change for contact rugby to only permit players in the female category whose sex recorded at birth was female”. This is at all levels of the game, not just elite.” 

Emily Bridges, a Trans-female cyclist, criticised the bans against trans participation in certain gendered sport categories as the scientific research “that’s been done previously has not been done on athletes, it’s been done on sedentary individuals.” 

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Annie Dabb

From Newcastle originally, Annie is based in Manchester and is a writer for the Euro Weekly News covering news and features. Got a story you want to share? Then get in touch at