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Scotland becomes the only region in the UK to allow male transgender players to compete with women in full-contact matches – YURI CORTEZ/AFP via Getty Images

Scottish rugby chiefs have been accused of putting women and girls at risk after the country became the only region in the UK to allow male physically transgender players to compete with women in full-contact matches.

Tonia Antonazzi, a Labour MP and former women’s rugby player who won nine games for Wales, claims female players face severe and potentially life-changing brain damage and has called for the policy to be scrapped.

Rugby governing bodies in England, Wales and Ireland are recently changed their transgender policy Statement that only female-born people can compete in women’s competition, peer-reviewed evidence shows male-born athletes retain significant physical advantages.

However, Scottish rules, which have been under scrutiny for the past year, still allow transgender women to play against women, and decisions are being made on guidelines that may not be expected to change for several months.

The Telegraph understands that two transgender female players were “actively involved” at the Scottish club last season. Scottish Rugby declined to say whether they had played competitive games.

Existing rules state that female players must not be told that they will be playing against male-physical opponents and deny them the option to withdraw if they have safety concerns. If the club breaches strict confidentiality rules, it will face disciplinary action.

‘There is enough risk’

Shadow minister Ms Antoni Aceh said the situation was all the more worrying given the emerging evidence of serious consequences. Risk of concussion from high-impact collisions in football.

“We’re talking about a high-impact sport, a dynamic game,” she said. “You can’t just apply the slogan of ‘kindness’ or trans women are women to rugby – it has to be gender segregated.

“I find it absolutely shocking that Scotland has trans women playing women’s rugby. It shouldn’t have happened. There are enough risks.”

Rugby Scotland is believed to be in talks with two trans players over the impact of any changes, but remains open to continuing to allow trans women to play in women’s games.

Ms Anthony Aceh, who represents South Wales Gower, added: “A largely male-led governing body wants to be seen as doing the right thing and can easily be led by the way the Scottish government and others see these issues.

“But they need to make a decision soon – based on fairness and safety for women and girls in sport.”

Current policy allows trans women and girls to participate in full-contact gaming as long as testosterone levels fall below a certain threshold within 12 months.

As part of the application process, they must sign a statement confirming their gender identity.

The SNP/Green government is moving forward with plans to allow Scots to change their legal gender through self-declaration, but ministers deny the changes will have any impact on sport.

Players with male bodies pose higher risk of head injury

Transgender women who have reached male puberty, international governing body World Rugby said in October 2020 Should not be allowed to compete in women’s games Because the danger to female players is “unacceptably high”.

It found that male athletes were significantly larger, stronger, heavier and faster, while suppressing testosterone levels “eliminated only a small percentage” of the enormous physical advantage of male-born competitors.

It said the risk of head injury was 20% to 30% higher for women in the case of a typical male player against a typical female player, and that the risk of head injury would be significantly higher if the larger male played against the smaller female. Increase.

The rules do not apply at national level, with Scottish Rugby responding at the time that it could make its own rules at the “community level of the game”.

The UK Sport Council launched its ongoing review after it issued new guidance last year, which also found male athletes retained physical advantages.

Susan Smith, head of Scottish Women’s Sport, said: “It’s shameful that Scotland is the only country in the UK where the lives of women rugby players are more important than the feelings of men who want to play in the women’s rugby team.”

A spokesman for Scottish Rugby said: “Scotland Rugby is reviewing its existing gender engagement policy in the light of emerging guidance.

“We are currently in dialogue with members of the rugby community who may be most affected by the policy change to help us understand our views on the topic.”