- Senator Sharon Keogan
Senator Sharon Keogan — Transgenderism in Ladies Gaelic Football
This weekend the Ladies Gaelic Football Association, LGFA, introduced a new policy allowing for trans-identified teenagers to play with, and against, girls and women. This decision flies in the face of globally-recognised medical and scientific evidence such as the evidence upon which the Irish Rugby Football Union, IRFU, based its opposite decision. Previously, the IRFU used the testosterone threshold method of assessing the risk resulting from male players engaged in full-contact sports with women. After an in-depth review of the operation and suitability of this test, the IRFU scrapped it. Peer-reviewed research has shown that the physical difference between biological males and females showed advantages in strength, stamina and physique brought about by male puberty are significant and are retained even after testosterone suppression. One year on, the LGFA has decided to go in the opposite direction. It has greenlighted biological males participating in women's sports based on increasingly defunct testosterone thresholds. Its policy gives no information to clubs on safeguarding, does not address the consent of other players, does not mention the rights of women and girls already in the sport or give sufficient consideration to the clear risk of injury to female players from bigger, stronger male players. The LGFA said its new policy followed a lengthy and detailed consultation process, yet declined to say what exact consultation it undertook and no players or clubs reported having been consulted. It is not clear on what scientific evidence, if any, the LGFA based its decision. Had there been any real consultation, the result would have been obvious. A Sunday Independent Ireland Thinks poll carried out last year posed the question as to whether transgender women should be allowed to take part in sporting activities against other women. Some 17% of the respondents said "Yes"; 15% were unsure; and a whopping 68% gave a "No" response. Obviously, members of the public do not exist in the same ideological captured NGO bubble that many key decision-makers in this country do. The vast majority of people have not yet learned to reject the evidence of their eyes and ears. One player who was interviewed by the Sunday Independent said "The testosterone levels stick out a mile." To me, this is dangerous. Clubs and county boards have been encouraging teens not to use younger girls in women's matches because it is dangerous but now they want transgender women to take part. How are we supposed to encourage young girls to play when there could be a man on the opposite team? The player quoted previously stated that, while she had been playing Gaelic football since primary school, she felt as though she could no longer encourage young girls to pick up the sport, given the new policy. It is a shocking state for women's sport to be in, when lifelong players can no longer in good conscience recommend getting involved to the next generation. I urge everyone involved in women's Gaelic football to contact their local club and their county representatives and let them know that this policy does not serve the women and girls of this country.