World Rugby to review transgender policy after research on reduced testosterone

Bill Beaumont
Sir Bill Beaumont played for England and the British and Irish Lions

World Rugby is preparing for a "comprehensive review" of the sport's policies on transgender players.

The governing body will hold a forum next week to consult "expert voices" and is seeking elite players' views.

As a reason for the review, World Rugby cites research suggesting that reducing testosterone does not lower strength and power proportionately.

"World Rugby's vision is 'a sport for all, true to its values'," said World Rugby chairman Sir Bill Beaumont.

"There is growing recognition of the importance of autonomy of gender identity in society and all sports are currently evaluating their policies to ensure that they are fit-for-purpose in the modern sporting and societal landscape.

"Rugby is no different and this forum makes it possible to explore the best available evidence and hear the relevant expert opinions."

World Rugby follows the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) policy. Guidelines issued by the IOC in November 2015 stated that transgender women must suppress testosterone levels for at least 12 months before competition. Testosterone is a hormone that increases muscle mass.

Athletes transitioning from female to male are allowed to participate without restrictions, but the IOC is currently developing new guidelines.

"It is important for contact sports, such as rugby, to find an appropriate position for player welfare and risk," a World Rugby statement said.

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