CANADA: “Non-Binary” Male Rugby Player Accused Of Injuring Female Competitors Was Awarded “Hardest Hitter” On Men’s Team

On June 23, reports began to circulate that a male player who identifies as “non-binary” was removed from a women’s rugby match after he allegedly injured female competitors. Before he was removed from the game, three women had to stop playing and receive medical treatment due to the injuries they sustained while playing against him.

The information was first shared by Diana Murphy on Twitter, who emphasized in her thread on the matter that the three female players injured were injured as a result of being dump tackled. Murphy identifies herself in her account bio as a photographer for former Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien.

The match where the incident reportedly took place was between the senior women’s divisions of the Fergus Highland RFC and the Stoney Creek Camels on June 17.

Much of the subsequent coverage of the viral thread did not identify the male player involved in the incident, with some outlets only referring to him simply as “Ash.”

The identity of the man involved in the incident has now been confirmed as Ash Davis, who previously played in the men’s division of the club and had been awarded the “hardest hitter” designation during the Senior Awards Banquet just last year.

According to a source within the rugby club, there has been “much opposition” to Davis’ participation in the women’s category, but club members are concerned about speaking up out of “fear of being labeled transphobic.”

The source also explained that “many people have known Ash for years, making it more sensitive.”

Davis participated in the Senior Women’s category of the club as recently as 4 days ago.

Speaking to Reduxx on Davis’ participation in the women’s category, Marshi Smith, the co-founder of Independent Council on Women’s Sports (ICONS), slammed the rugby club for not prioritizing the safety of the female players.

“Young women are being forced to jeopardize their physical safety to satisfy the desires of a man, Ash Davis, in Canadian rugby,” Smith said.

“Despite opposition within the rugby club, leaders like club President Jane Kirby are willing to risk the health and safety of young female players, prioritizing men’s preferences over ethical concerns and the potential for life-threatening injuries or death. This policy of sacrificing girls and women’s well-being for men’s eligibility preferences is unethical and perilous.”

ICONS has been tracking the participation of male athletes in women’s sporting competitions on an international level, and recently held a summit on the topic of protecting women’s single-sex sport featuring multiple displaced female athletes. Amongst the speakers was Riley Gaines, a University of Kentucky graduate and accomplished All American swimmer who once shared a podium with transgender swimmer Lia Thomas.

Ash Davis (8) laying atop a female competitor during the July 17 match.

The sport of rugby in Canada is governed by Rugby Canada, which adopted an explicit “trans inclusion” policy in 2019.

According to their guidebook, rugby players in Canada “should be able to participate as the gender with which they identify and not be subject to requirements for disclosure of personal information beyond those required of cisgender athletes.”

The policy states that there is no requirement for a player to demonstrate they are medically or surgically transitioning prior to playing on the team of their choice.

Canada currently stands as an outlier, as many international rugby bodies have chosen to exclude biological males from women’s categories due to the highly physical nature of the sport.

As previously reported by Reduxx, England’s Rugby Football Union (RFU) announced revisions to their “gender participation policy” last year, excluding anyone “recorded male at birth” from participating in female contact rugby.

The RFU’s change in policy faced much scrutiny after one man who goes by the name Julie-Anne Curtiss was interviewed by ESPN UK, where he announced that he would be suing the RFU due to their ban on male players in the female category. 

In a video that was widely shared after this year’s interview, Curtiss can be seen towering over much younger female athletes. He stated that critics who oppose male players in sports for women and girls “need to be dragged, kicking and screaming if necessary,” until policies favoring gender identity over biological sex are implemented.

The Scottish Rugby Union (SRU) followed RFU’s lead earlier this year and banned males from competing in women’s contact rugby and citing the safety of female players.

“Our Gender Participation Policy recognises the need to balance considerations of safety and fairness with our underlying desire to be as inclusive as possible. At this moment in time, Scottish Rugby has opted to make a decision which puts safety first, based on the current research,” the Union said in a statement regarding their decision.

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Reduxx is your stop for pro-woman, pro-child safeguarding news and opinion that goes outside the mainstream narratives.