Transgender athletes. “We are punished”, says a former rugby league player

“Basically what they’re saying is: we don’t want you” : Caroline Layt, a former transgender player, strongly denounces the decision of the International Rugby League (IRL) to ban transgender people from participating in international matches, which she sees as a ” punishment “.

The 56-year-old former athlete, now a journalist and activist, fears that such a decision will lead to the banning of transgender athletes.

“We are being punished for our transition […] Basically what they say is: we don’t want you”she revealed in an interview with AFP.

Layt played rugby as a man and then as a woman following her transition, a three-year process involving hormones and finally surgery performed in 1998 when she was over 30.

She then played at a high level in women’s teams, including representing New South Wales, only revealing her transgender status in 2005.

A decision that changed perceptions to his expected and that some made him pay dearly.

” Next to nothing “

“I suddenly became less than nothing”she explained in an interview with AFP, denouncing the sidelining of which she was the victim.

Discrimination and hostility that even went as far as physical violence against her from the part of some of her teammates during training in 2005, then the following year on the field by opponents.

“Some have since apologized to me, […] I appreciated this gesture”, said Layt. Corn “others have not changed their minds and attitudes about me and probably never do”she added.

The former sportswoman rejected the argument that transgender people necessarily have a physiological advantage over other sportswomen: “We are not all the same height, the same weight, the same size”she argued, asking sports authorities to decide on a case-by-case basis.

Tuesday, the IRL is announced “players changed from male to female (trannies) cannot take part in women’s international rugby matches”explaining that they need further consultation and research to finalize a new policy for 2023 and citing a “legal, reputational and welfare risk” game and players.

“We are human beings”

For Layt, this decision, which comes two days after that of the International Swimming Federation (Fina) which wants to have transgender people compete in a separate category and therefore de facto excludes them from the female category, is “really disappointing”.

IRL “jump on a moving train”she regretted, while the president of World Athletics Sebastian Coe indicated on Monday that on these questions, he intended to privilege the” equity “ compared to the” inclusion “.

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“We are human beings, we have feelings, and we feel like we are singled out”a hammered Layt.

“They don’t seem to understand the fact that for us it’s inherent, feeling like a woman is part of us from a very young age”she explained.

Layt had previously said that from the age of three-four, she felt like it was ” wrong “ for her to be a man, even asking her father: “Why can’t I be a girl, why can’t I be pretty? ».

What if young transgender people offered to ask him today for advice on how to play rugby? “I would make them hide. Or go play in a sport that is inclusive”she acknowledged.

Transgender athletes. “We are punished”, says a former rugby league player

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