Welsh Rugby Union bans Transgender women from playing in the female contact category

The Welsh governing body follows the likes of Ireland, England and World Rugby in updating its gender participation policy to exclude Trans women from the female contact category.

Welsh women's rugby team competing against Canada.
Image: Instagram: @WelshRugbyUnion

The Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) has banned Transgender women from competing in the female contact category. The governing body made the announcement on Wednesday, September 7, after its board voted in favour of updating its gender participation policy.

The ban is being implemented effective immediately, with the organisation following in the footsteps of the Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU), the English RFU and World Rugby, who have all adopted similar stances. Up until now, Transgender women were allowed to play rugby in the female category in Wales, pending a thorough medical process including testosterone tests.

“The new policy means contact rugby for players in the female category is limited to those whose sex was recorded as female at birth,” the WRU stated. The organisation added that it came to this decision after analysing recent peer-reviewed research that argued that Transgender women have significant “advantages in strength, stamina and physique” that are “retained even after testosterone suppression”.

Similar to the IRFU, the Welsh governing body also committed to “an ongoing review of the policy as new evidence, research and insights become available”.

“With the provision of non-contact formats of the game, coaching, refereeing and a wide range of volunteering opportunities, the WRU firmly believes there is a place for everyone in Welsh rugby,” the statement reads.

Responding to the news, LGBTQ+ inclusive rugby club the Cardiff Lions reiterated its stance on inclusion and confirmed that it stands in solidarity with the Trans community.

“We are saddened to hear of this ban and would strongly encourage the WRU to review their policy as new evidence and insights become available,” the club said on social media.

“We believe that rugby should be accessible to all, regardless of gender and believe this decision is a step backwards.”

There are currently no registered Transgender women playing in Welsh rugby.

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