We are human beings, we have feelings


The Australian decried rugby league’s world governing body after it announced a ban on Tuesday on transgender players in international fixtures while it undertakes research to finalise a new policy in 2023

Caroline Layt at her Sydney residence yesterday. Pic/AFP


Transgender former rugby player Caroline Layt said she was assaulted by her teammates nearly two decades ago, and now she fears a new generation of players are being punished for being themselves. The Australian decried rugby league’s world governing body after it announced a ban on Tuesday on transgender players in international fixtures while it undertakes research to finalise a new policy in 2023.

Layt played rugby before and after her transition, a three-year process involving hormones and finally surgery in 1998. She went on to play successfully in top women’s sides including representing New South Wales in rugby league, but her time in the sport was often tough. In 2005 people found out she was transgender, and perceptions of her changed. “I went from the penthouse to the outhouse,” said Layt.

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The 56-year-old former player, now a journalist and activist for transgender athletes, said she was “physically assaulted” by some fellow players during club training in 2005. The following year, playing for another side, Layt said she was targeted for injury on the field by opponents.


Swimming body FINA said male-to-female transgender athletes could only join women’s races if they had not experienced any part of male puberty, deciding that it conferred a physical advantage even after hormone suppression. “We are human beings, we have feelings, and we feel like we are being singled out,” Layt said. 

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Originally published at www.mid-day.com

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