Recent events in the rugby community have sparked a heated debate surrounding safety and fairness when transgender players compete against cisgender athletes. Here’s the full story.
During a Niagara Rugby Union game between Stoney Creek and Fergus Highlanders, an event involving a transgender player named Ash became the focal point.
The Transitioning Athlete
Ash, a transitioning person from male to female, had been given clearance to participate in the women’s rugby league.
Other Athletes’ Concerns
However, several female athletes expressed concerns about the physical differences between cisgender and transitioning individuals.
Several Players Were Injured
During the game, three female players had to be removed and treated for injuries from hits by Ash. After repeated dangerous tackles, the referee had to remove Ash from the game.
Ash’s Tackles Were Too Powerful
The impact and force of Ash’s tackles were described as exceptionally powerful, surpassing anything they had encountered in competitive women’s rugby.
Players Were Concerned
One female player described her experience of being tackled by Ash as “a whole other thing playing rugby against men.”
The Swimming Controversy
The concern over inclusion and safety intensified as some players drew comparisons with the Lia Thomas swimming controversy in the United States.
Transgender Players Welcome
Rugby Canada stands firm in welcoming transgender players.
Many Players Are Uncomfortable
Players expressed reservations about facing someone who previously identified as male, especially in a physically demanding sport like rugby, where size and strength significantly impact the game.
Fairness in Question
Rugby Ontario has initiated discussions with Rugby Canada to develop action plans and communication strategies.
Nobody Is Forcing You to Play!
Several social media users expressed their thoughts on the incident.
One Youtube user wrote, “The solution is very simple, if there is a man on the other team, have your whole team walk off the field. When all teams refuse to play them, rules will change very fast. Nobody is forcing you to play.”
Play With Biological Gender Players
Another User wrote, “To Ash Davis’s partner, if you don’t want your children to be traumatized, I suggest encouraging Ash to play in his biological gender like he did all his life.”
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Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / Mario Rodriguez Perez. The people shown in the images are for illustrative purposes only, not the actual people featured in the story.