This past Tuesday, the International Rugby League (IRL) officially announced that any biological male athletes who now identify as female are going to be banned from taking part in women’s league activities until officials have the time to discuss and develop a complete transgender athlete policy.
The hold-up is taking place in the wake of a new policy coming down from FINA, which is the world’s top international swimming association, that stated that it will be restricting female-identifying males from elite swimming competitions.
“The IRL is continuing work to review and update rules about transgender participation in women’s international rugby league and will seek to use the upcoming World Cup to help develop a comprehensive inclusion policy,” a statement from the organization read.
“Until further research is completed to enable the IRL to implement a formal transgender inclusion policy, male-to-female (transwomen) players are unable to play in sanctioned women’s international rugby league matches,” continued IRL.
The International Rugby League stated that it thinks “rugby league is a game for all and that anyone and everyone can play our sport,” while stating that “safety” and “perceived risk” had to be discussed.
“It is the IRL’s responsibility to balance the individual’s right to participate – a long-standing principle of rugby league and at its heart from the day it was established – against perceived risk to other participants, and to ensure all are given a fair hearing,” stated IRL.
“The IRL will continue to work towards developing a set of criteria, based on best possible evidence, which fairly balance the individual’s right to play with the safety of all participants,” continued the group.
The allowing of biological male athletes to take part in competitions against girls and women has been a point of outrage all across the country.
Most notably, a group of high school female athletes from Connecticut is going up against policies that have allowed many biological males to completely “dominate” girls high school track and field events. The girls in question — Selina Soule, Chelsea Mitchell, and Alanna Smith– are currently being represented by Alliance Defending Freedom, a religious freedom organization.
“At the 2019 Connecticut Indoor Track & Field State Championships, Selina finished one place away from qualifying for finals, and the opportunity to compete for a qualifying spot at the New England Regional Championships in the 55-meter dash,” outlined ADF. “The first and second spots in the race were taken by two male athletes. This was a massive disappointment for Selina. It meant she had to sit on the sidelines instead of competing in front of college scouts!”
“Had those two biological boys not been allowed to compete, Selina could have qualified to run the 55-meter event at the New England regionals,” stated the group. “The male who won Selina’s race set a girls’ state indoor record of 6.95 seconds in the 55-meter dash and went on to win the New England titles in both the 55-meter dash and the 300-meter dash.”