The Tanaiste, Leo Varadkar has called on the Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) to listen to transgender athletes who will no longer be allowed to participate in women’s rugby games if they were not assigned as female at birth.
According to RTE, the decision was based on what the IRFU described as a review of research showing that there is evidence that there are physical differences between people who were assigned as male and female at birth. The IRFU issued a statement to this effect, noting that male puberty brings about changes that lead to advantages in physique, strength and stamina. The decision by the IRFU brings it in line with World Rugby.
In commenting on this decision and, according to the Irish Mirror, Leo Varadkar said that the IRFU must engage in dialogue on the issue, saying:
“I think it is very important that the IRFU and World Rugby and anybody that’s making decisions on this listens to the voice of those who are most affected.
He insisted that the voices of those who might feel “excluded” must be heard in this debate.
The IRFU is said to be working with transgender players to ensure that they feel included in the sport, despite the fact that anyone not assigned as female at birth will not now be allowed to play in women’s contact rugby. It is thought that they will be very welcome to take part as referees, coaches and volunteers.
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