Transgender Irish dancers can compete in whatever categories they say matches their chosen gender identity, the governing body for the discipline has ruled.
An Coimisiún Le Rincí Gaelacha (CLRG) made the ruling Wednesday following consideration of a legal opinion from the Bar of Ireland, the Irish News reports.
CLRG chairperson Sandra Connick used a letter to members to acknowledge there had been “considerable internal and external discussion” on the subject in recent months, saying:
As a world-wide organisation welcoming dancers from many different backgrounds, CLRG is committed to creating a safe and inclusive environment for every dancer in our community.
However, we understand the matter is a divisive subject that generates strong opinions and CLRG has been listening to the views of all teachers, dancers and parents, while also seeking professional legal, reputational and peer organisation advice on the subject.
There had been calls from some parents to ban some dancers from categories matching their chosen gender identity after a teenage transgender girl from the U.S. qualified for the upcoming Irish Dancing World Championships, which will be held in Glasgow, Scotland.
“Parents think it’s outrageous,” one parent told the Daily Signal, which broke the story after the boy placed first in a regional dance competition for girls in the United States.
“They are absolutely outraged. It’s absolutely ridiculous, just like in any other sport …The feeling is one of fundamental unfairness,” this parent added. “And then obviously the frustration and resentment that goes along with that.”
American parents voiced their anger and dismay at the decision after the boy placed first in the under-14 south region competitions that took place in Dallas, Texas.
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The first-place win comes after the boy had placed 11th when he competed as a boy against other boys in April at the CLRG World Championships.
CLRG members recently took part in a took part in a “transgender educational forum” event, which examined research on the performance of trans dancers and the impact on competitions.
New policy to reflect the position on trans competitors will be voted on at the body’s annual meeting in May.