'Non-Binary' Rugby Player Removed From Match After Injuring 3 Females

Emma Campbell | August 1, 2023
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A Canadian rugby player who was removed from a game last month after reportedly injuring three female competitors was recently revealed to be a “non-binary” male that received the “hardest hitter” award when he played for a men’s team.

The original incident occurred June 17, when the player allegedly injured three female players during a match between the senior women’s divisions of the Fergus Highland RFC and the Stoney Creek Camels. Reports of the perpetrator being a “transwoman” began circulating on June 23rd, but the identity of the player was only recently confirmed to be Ash Davis, a “non-binary” biological male. Davis had previously played in the men’s division of the club and was named the “hardest hitter” at an awards banquet just last year.

According to a source in the rugby club, there has been “much opposition” since Davis started playing in the women’s division, but members of the club have not spoken out for “fear of being labeled transphobic,” Reduxx reports. Davis has reportedly kept competing in the women’s division since the incident, having competed in a game as recently as July 21.

 

Rugby Canada, the governing body of the sport in Canada, adopted a “trans inclusion” policy in 2019 that allows rugby players in the country to “participate as the gender with which they identify and not be subject to requirements for disclosure of personal information beyond those required of cisgender athletes.” According to the policy, no hormone therapy or any other medical/surgical transitioning is required for a player to compete on a team aligning with their gender identity.

Many have opposed the inclusion of “transwomen” in female rugby competitions due to the intensely physical and high-contact nature of the sport. Marshi Smith, co-founder of Independent Council on Women’s Sports (ICONS), said that allowing trans-identifying men to play with women forces young women to “jeopardize their physical safety to satisfy the desires of a man.”

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“Despite opposition within the rugby club, leaders like club President Jane Kirby are willing to risk the health and safety of young female players, prioritizing men’s preferences over ethical concerns and the potential for life-threatening injuries or death,” Smith said. “This policy of sacrificing girls and women’s well-being for men’s eligibility preferences is unethical and perilous.”

Canada’s position on transgender participation in rugby is at odds with the policies of many other international rugby bodies, which generally exclude biological males from competing in women’s categories. England’s Rugby Football Union (RFU) and the Scottish Rugby Union (SRU) have both made changes to their policies within the last year, electing to allow only biological women to participate in women’s contact rugby competitions in order to protect the safety of female players.

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