Meet Jean Kim. She’s a senior and a business administration major at Fordham University.
At the beginning of her transition, Jean suffered a variety of mental health complications. She thought that she would go through life alone. Then she started played rugby.
The sport quickly helped Jean break this mindset and find a family on campus. Jean fell in love with rugby, trying her hardest at every opportunity and occasionally practicing up to 6 hours a day.
However, when her team began competing at tournaments, she was told that she wouldn’t be allowed to play due to the current policy.
World Rugby is currently following a 2003 policy called the Stockholm Consensus, which requires trans athletes to undergo gender-affirming surgery in order to compete.
On Nov. 1, 2017, Jean and Athlete Ally published an open letter calling for trans-inclusive policies at World Rugby.
We urge you to join the fight by signing the Athlete Ally petition
According to Hudson Taylor, director of Athlete Ally, many sports governing bodies are hesitant to adopt trans-inclusive policies for two major reasons: Hormone levels and the contact nature of the sport.
In 2016, the IOC temporarily updated its guidelines before the Rio Olympics and no longer required trans athletes to undergo surgery. However, these guidelines are still under review, and haven’t been updated by World Rugby.
This means that World Rugby does not have clear guidelines that determine the eligibility of trans athletes to play on the team that corresponds with their gender identity, which ultimately makes it difficult for players like Jean to participate in college sports.
BuzzFeed News reached out to World Rugby to ask whether they would update their policy for trans athletes, and they responded with the following statement: