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Varadkar urges IRFU to 'listen to the voices of those affected' by new trans ban

The IRFU announced its new position yesterday.

Image: Shutterstock

TÁNAISTE LEO VARADKAR has called on sporting bodies to “listen to the voices of those most affected” when making decisions regarding trans athletes.

Speaking in Roscommon today, Varadkar said that the trans issue is something that sports bodies are “struggling with” worldwide. 

Yesterday, the Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) announced transgender women over the age of 12 will not be permitted to participate in contact female rugby.

The association has argued that its decision to limit involvement to players recorded as female at birth is “based on medical and scientific evidence and in line with World Rugby guidance”.

It continues a trend of similar policies across the sport — in 2020, World Rugby banned trans women from the elite women’s game, citing injury risks.

In addition, last month the Rugby Football Union (RFU) voted to ban transgender women from the women’s rugby union in England.

Speaking on the issue, Varadkar said: “I think it’s something that sporting bodies in Ireland and around the world are really struggling with. I think it is very important that the IRFU and World Rugby and anybody that’s making decisions on this, listen to the voice of those who are most affected.

“And of course, those who are potentially most affected here are those that may be excluded from playing sports. I think it’s very important that their voices are heard in this debate.”

The statement released from the IRFU yesterday stated that the organisation “is keenly aware that this is a sensitive and challenging area for those involved and the wider LGBT+ community and will continue to work with those impacted, providing support to ensure their ongoing involvement with the game”.

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