FA pre­par­ing to re­view trans­gen­der guid­ance

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Total Football - By Tom Mor­gan and Katie Why­att

The Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion is be­ing urged by trans play­ers to dis­miss safety fears ex­pressed by rugby over women’s con­tact sports when it up­dates its own guid­ance on gen­der al­lowances in the com­ing months.

Gen­dered In­tel­li­gence, an LGBT or­gan­i­sa­tion, has con­firmed it is work­ing on a “re­fresh” around rules it helped de­vise with the FA five years ago, but sources close to talks say con­cerns raised by World Rugby over mus­cle mass will not ap­ply in the same way to foot­ball.

Rugby ap­pears clos­est to tight­en­ing its own rules af­ter a peer-re­viewed re­view of its trans­gen­der poli­cies con­cluded they were “not fit for pur­pose” be­cause a re­duc­tion of testos­terone “does not lead to a pro­por­tion­ate re­duc­tion in mass, mus­cle mass, strength or power”.

Cur­rently, rugby al­lows trans women to play in the women’s game if they lower their testos­terone lev­els for at least 12 months in line with In­ter­na­tional Olympic Com­mit­tee guide­lines.

The FA has a sim­i­lar ap­proach in its “case-by-case” pol­icy for trans women who have un­der­gone hor­mone ther­apy or a go­nadec­tomy and want to play in the women’s com­pet­i­tive game. Most play­ers are al­lowed to take part if their re­sults in blood testos­terone tests fall within na­tal fe­male ranges.

How­ever, Natalie Wash­ing­ton, a trans woman who plays for Rush­moor Ladies in Farn­bor­ough, Hamp­shire, is among a host of fig­ures in the game who say the rules in foot­ball are al­ready strict enough, ex­plain­ing how she was al­ready forced to dra­mat­i­cally re­duce her testos­terone to get the green light to com­pete.

“The ex­tremely low level I went to is the kind of level that a lot of peo­ple would say is too low, is dan­ger­ously low,” she told The Daily

Tele­graph. “It’s not ideal, but to me play­ing foot­ball is more im­por­tant.”

Fol­low­ing gen­der re­as­sign­ment, she first ap­plied to the FA to start play­ing women’s foot­ball in July 2015. “I was on testos­terone sup­pres­sants at that point, but ob­vi­ously their de­ci­sion was it wasn’t sup­pressed enough.”

Af­ter chang­ing her treat­ment of drugs, her testos­terone level plunged to “su­per low” lev­els. The FA told her she had to re­main at that level for a year. She was even­tu­ally al­lowed to com­pete in Jan­uary 2017.

“I do feel prob­lems from that low level,” she added. “I feel more tired.”

The FA con­firmed it has been again work­ing with Gen­dered In­tel­li­gence “to sup­ple­ment the trans peo­ple in foot­ball guid­ance and re­view the pol­icy as part of good gov­er­nance”. The Daily

Tele­graph dis­closed ear­lier this month how foot­ball is among a host of sports con­sid­er­ing its poli­cies.

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