LGFA developing Transgender policy following ladies’ shield final issue

The occasion of Na Gaeil Aeracha earning their first-ever piece of silverware was overshadowed due to the opposition and match official having an issue with a Transgender player.

LGFA players in Croke Park.
Image: Twitter: @LadiesFootball

According to the Irish Independent, the Ladies Gaelic Football Association (LGFA) is developing its first policy surrounding Transgender athletes. The news comes after an issue arose between LGBTQ+ inclusive GAA club Na Gaeil Aeracha and local rival Na Fianna, as they faced off in the Dublin Junior J Shield football final.

Na Gaeil Aeracha emerged victorious from the match played on Wednesday, August 3, beating Na Fianna’s E team by a score of 7-11 to 1-5. It was the first-ever time that the club earned silverware, but the occasion was overshadowed due to the opposition and the match official having an issue with a Transgender player.

It is being reported that before the game, Na Fianna’s manager approached the referee to question the inclusion of Giulia Valentino, a Trans woman who plays with Na Gaeil Aeracha. Although no action was taken initially, in the early stages of the match, the official approached the LGBTQ+ team to say there was “a problem with your number 21,” among other somewhat hurtful remarks. He added that even if Valentino was substituted, their opposition would have a right to appeal the result due to the player’s eligibility.

The player in question was later taken off at half-time, after also coming off briefly in the first half as a blood substitute.

After the match, both Na Gaeil Aeracha and Giulia Valentino began receiving criticism and abuse on social media, causing the club to private all of its accounts. Some users falsely claimed that Valentino had scored 2-09 in the final although she was scoreless, and Twitter suspended various accounts that posted the athlete’s photo.

Although Na Gaeil Aeracha’s policy states that “Any person playing for Na Gaeil Aeracha club may play at training or in a match for the team they best identify with, without restriction,” the LGFA does not yet have official guidance surrounding Transgender athletes.

When asked about the issue, the governing body said it is “currently working in consultation with our counterparts in the GAA, and from other sporting organisations, in relation to developing policy in this area”.

It comes as the Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) is also reviewing its policy on Trans athletes, with the news emerging just days after the English RFU voted to ban Trans women from full-contact rugby.

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