A teen rugby player who stepped out onto the pitch in competition with a Guam High School transgender player said she doesn’t think it’s a big deal.
“I hope they don’t kick her out,” said the 16-year-old rugby player who asked to remain anonymous.
On Saturday, the interscholastic girls rugby season kicked off. The Guam High School team had three matches against the Tiyan Titans, Academy Cougars and Notre Dame Royals. On the Guam High team was a transgender athlete, something that the other schools weren’t aware of, according to a story by the Guam Sports Network. Tiyan head coach Conrad Kerber told GSPN they were shocked and that the Guam High athlete allegedly injured some players.
Kerber was not available for further comment on Tuesday. GHS head coach Joe Mancuso said they could not provide a comment on the issue. The GHS administrator could not be reached. Calls to Guam Rugby Football Union Stephen Grantham went straight to voicemail.
The debate is over whether the transgender player should be allowed to compete in the girl’s rugby. The 16-year-old rugby player who spoke with The Guam Daily Post said she believes the competition was fair.
“It was all equal, there were no advantages or disadvantages between any of the teams,” she said. “Everyone was too focused on the fact that the player is transgender but … strayed away from the actual topic which is the safety concerns.”
She said she doesn’t feel less safe just because the player is biologically a boy.
“I don’t think that if she is banned from playing that it would decrease the chances of players getting hurt. It’s a contact sport and everyone is going to get hurt at some point. Wanting to play the sport is a risk in itself,” she said.
While she understands the concern that has been raised, she got a part of the competition is the mind game.
“I feel like at first, after watching Guam High’s games and then we challenged them, just watching her go through everyone that’s why they’re scared to play against her,” she said. “But, she didn’t smash through anyone. She was doing what everyone else was doing, like trucking, that’s normal. It wasn’t more masculine, just a stronger presence. That’s different.”
Player: Focus should be improving the game
She said teams should be focused on improving their game, instead of psyching themselves out.
“I think they should focus more on the players’ skills and what they can do, instead of gender. And then better themselves so they can find themselves in a successful position, mind wise. Focus on what they can do when they have the ball in their hands and what they can’t do, and use that to your benefit. “
Physically, however, she said “it’s still equal.”
“I was able to take her down more than once so there’s no disadvantages for me. I feel bad because everyone is just talking about her and they brought it to all the headlines and it should have just stayed in the rugby organization itself. They ‘ re making a big deal out of it. ” She said, “If she’s not able to play and they kick her out of the girl’s league they should allow her the chance to play in the boys’ league. But, would she want it?”
The 16-year-old pointed out that there’s a reason the GHS player chose to play in the girl’s league.
“In a way I do like she’s being discriminated against for the simple fact that she is a transgender,” she said. “If the GHS player was born a girl and had the same size, same build, same athletic ability, no one would be scared and they’d think it’s a fair chance at playing. But (there are) girls that are faster and stronger than her. “
Fighting for equality
The 16-year-old added that women have been fighting for equality for years, and now that a boy is asking for equality, it’s not being given.
“I think it’s very chaotic, because one second we want to fight for equality and then this transgender female wants to play girls rugby, everyone wants her not to play and kick her out and get her off the field,” she said. “It would feel good that she got the chance to play and enjoy the sport as everyone else does. Knowing that I already competed against her, I’d feel okay. I wouldn’t blame her if I got injected. It’s the nature of the sport, it’s a competitive contact sport. ”
The 16-year-old has been injured playing rugby, but said it didn’t stop her from walking back on the pitch.
“You just heal from the injuries and go play again,” she said. “I think the adults should keep in mind that the player is a minor, a child trying to play a sport that she likes. Why stand in her way? She seemed like a good team player who is still learning.”