On Friday 29th July, the RFU voted on the future of transgender women in the game after a two year review had suggested the decision be put to vote.
Before the vote occured, the RFU recommended a ban on transgender women due to safety concerns.
They said “(There is) evidence that there are physical differences between those people whose sex was assigned as male and those as female at birth, and advantages in strength, stamina and physique brought about by male puberty are significant and retained even after testosterone suppression.”
“This science provides the basis of the recommendation that the inclusion of trans people assigned male at birth in female contact rugby cannot be balanced against considerations of safety and fairness.”
The outcome of the vote has now been released and the RFU and RFL have banned transgender women from playing women’s rugby.
This means that transgender women will not be able to play women’s rugby league or rugby union.
The new policy will come into action for the 2022/2023 season, and the votes were 33 in favour of the ban, 26 against and 2 abstaining.
The RFU said the decision was made for safety reasons and ‘The inclusion of trans people originally recorded male at birth in female contact rugby cannot be balanced’.
They have also stated that players in women’s rugby can only participate if their gender originally recorded at birth was female.
The decision has caused huge debate within the rugby community.
Transgender rugby player Alex Fitzgerald shared her concerns over how she could be excluded from the game of rugby as a whole.
Transgender rugby player Alix Fitzgerald says she feels sad that she could be excluded from playing rugby after the RFU Council vote on the issue. pic.twitter.com/bhVZ3pQO5J
— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) July 28, 2022
Former England and Bristol prop Sasha Acheson has been equally against the ruling.
I honestly don't know what to say. @EnglandRugby you've just got on the wrong side of history. To all those that this affects, which will be the entirety of women's rugby, I'm so fucking sorry.
— Sasha Acheson (@sashbambam) July 29, 2022
In contrast, sports journalist Sophie Corcoran has welcomed the decision.
Transgender women will not be allowed to play in female contact rugby competitions in England, under new recommendations from the RFU.
The right decision – rugby is a hard contact game where physicality matters – it would be wrong to enable males to compete against women.
— Sophie Corcoran 🇬🇧 (@sophielouisecc) July 22, 2022
As has ex England fly half Andy Goode who was calling for the ban before the announcement was made.