The Ladies Gaelic Football Association (LGFA) has announced that it will develop a policy for transgender players.
It comes the week there was an appeal against a transgender woman playing in a Ladies Shield final in Dublin.
Na Gaeil Aeracha, the GAA’s first open LGBT club, won its first silver award last Wednesday when it defeated Na Fianna’s women’s E team in the Dublin Junior J Shield soccer final.
Before the game, a Na Fianna manager approached the referee to question the presence of Giulia Valentino, a transgender woman, on the opposing team.
A source at the game said the referee initially believed Valentino was part of Na Gaeil Aeracha’s backroom team until she won a high ball in the opening minutes of the game.
The referee, a man, stopped play after the first break in play to tell Na Gaeil Aeracha that there was “a problem with your number 21” and told them “the player is a man”.
The Na Gaeil Aeracha captain said Valentino was a trans woman but the referee said: “This is the Gaelic Women’s Football Association”.
He informed Na Gaeil Aeracha that even if they replaced the number 21, Na Fianna would have the right to contest the result because of the player’s eligibility to play.
Valentino was later dropped as a blood substitute but returned and played until half-time when she was substituted entirely.
Na Gaeil Aeracha won the game 7-11 to 1-5. Valentino’s presence in the team was highlighted by a number of Twitter accounts posting a photo of her in the semi-final game against Ballyboden St Enda’s.
Many posts incorrectly claimed that Valentino scored 2-09 in the final despite being goalless. Twitter has blocked a number of accounts that have posted Valentino’s picture.
Na Gaeil Aeracha has blocked all his social media accounts to private since Valentino’s play was highlighted in the game. It didn’t respond to questions this weekend.
Its club policy stated that any person playing for the club “may play without restriction, in training or in a match, for the team with which they most identify”.
Valentino is an outspoken supporter of allowing transgender people to play sports in their chosen gender.
Originally from Italy, she moved to Ireland in 2019 and played rugby at a club in Dublin.
Her Na Gaeil Aeracha profile said she joined the GAA club after injuring herself playing rugby, but she wanted to play a women’s game “for sisterhood, validation and political visibility; As a trans woman, these things are very important to me.”
She criticized a World Rugby decision to ban trans women from playing elite women’s rugby. She told a discussion in Gay Community News last year that she was asked to use a separate dressing room while playing for a rugby team in Dublin.
“I’m pretty annoyed by this crackdown,” she said.
When asked about its rules on transgender players, the LGFA said it is “currently working in consultation with our colleagues in the GAA and other sports organizations in relation to developing policies in this area.”
Na Fianna did not respond to requests.
The Irish Rugby Football Union allows transgender players at club level if they meet a number of criteria, including providing medical records showing that a transgender woman’s testosterone levels have been below a threshold for the past 12 months.
It said: “Any situation [is] assessed on a case-by-case basis to ensure player safety is paramount.”
https://www.independent.ie/sport/gaelic-games/ladies-football/lgfa-developing-policy-on-transgender-players-after-ladies-shield-final-incident-41894821.html LGFA ‘development policy’ for transgender players following recent Ladies Shield incident