CANADA: Female Rugby Players Express Anger, Fear Of Trans-Identified Male Permitted To Join Their Team

Female rugby players in Alberta, Canada, are expressing concerns for their safety after a male who only recently began to identify as a “woman” was permitted to join their team. The women say their club is more worried about “discrimination” lawsuits than their potential injuries.

Players for the Clanswomen, a female rugby team in the Clansmen Rugby Club (CRC) and under the jurisdiction of the Edmonton Rugby Club, told Reduxx they were only recently informed by a coach that Maeryn Gellhaus, 48, was allowed to join their team.

Several members of the Clanswomen, who are being kept anonymous for their protection, explained that they knew Gellhaus had previously played on a men’s team in the CRC before he began to identify as transgender. He also reportedly coaches a youth team in the CRC.

According to a Clanswomen player who spoke with Reduxx, Gellhaus approached executives at the CRC sometime in May, requesting to switch from the men’s team to the women’s team. He has since been attending the women’s practice sessions twice a week. The female players were reportedly not consulted about his acceptance onto the roster.


Gellhaus made an Instagram post about joining the women’s team on May 29, boasting that he had played nearly 300 games as a male, but had been accepted into the Clanswomen after declaring himself to be a woman.

“I’ve played almost 300 games for my club. Played on every team possible. But the reason I never really fit in was because I was never really on the RIGHT team. Until tonight… tonight the Clanswomen allowed me to join them. So for once (maybe just once) I can take the pitch as myself for the right team.”

According to an Instagram post by Gellhaus, he began to identify as transgender and take cross-sex hormones (HRT) just four months ago and primarily presents as “male” most of the time.

“I’m only 4 months deep into HRT. I haven’t had [facial feminization surgery]. I still boy-mode mostly,” he wrote in another post from June 4.

The anonymous female players said that Gellhaus was allegedly informed that several of the women on the team were uncomfortable with his presence and worried about being injured playing with a male. Days later, Gellhaus took to Instagram again, complaining that some of the women had been less than accomodating to him.

“There are a lot of girls that have been absolutely amazing to me there. But there is an underlying feeling that some don’t want me there. Badly. It hasn’t been figured out yet. I’m trying to decide if it’s worth the struggle. I want to be celebrated, not tolerated,” he wrote.

Just last week, Gellhaus was finally added to the publicly-available team roster on the Clansmen Rugby Club’s website. He played his first game with the team on Saturday in St. Albert, Alberta.

One female player told Reduxx that she was focused on fairness and safety, and that none of the women opposed to Gellhaus’ presence were motivated by transphobia. Instead, she explained fear of injury was the primary concern amongst the women.

“It’s safety and fairness of sport. It’s pretty f*cked up that one person’s ‘feelings’ trump legitimate concerns of safety from our women. Our opinions and feelings don’t matter,” she said.

“In an aggressive contact sport like rugby, where your only required protection is a mouth guard, why do we have to argue over safety and explain the risks of women versus men?”

Several of the women have approached Canada’s governing body for Rugby with concerns about safety, but were told that the club must follow the current guidance, which enables players to choose a team based on their self-identified gender “at both recreational and competitive levels.”

Rugby Canada regulations claim to “resolve gender identity and gender expression issues” via their discipline and complaints policy. The policy does not provide any mention of the safety of female players matched with or against males.

“It’s reckless. The club is afraid [Gellhaus] will file a discrimination suit if we don’t let him play,” another Clanswomen player revealed. “I argue he is to be accepted ‘as is’ with the men’s team, or he can go play in one of the co-ed leagues.”


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Amy Hamm

Amy is a contributor at Reduxx hailing from British Columbia, Canada. Amy juggles being a mom, writer, and healthcare professional while also being one of the nation's most visible advocates for free speech and women’s sex based rights.

Amy Hamm
Amy Hamm
Amy is a contributor at Reduxx hailing from British Columbia, Canada. Amy juggles being a mom, writer, and healthcare professional while also being one of the nation's most visible advocates for free speech and women’s sex based rights.
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