The French rugby federation will let transgender people take part in all domestic competitions from next season.
The move goes against guidance from World Rugby, which last year recommended that transgender women should not play in women’s elite or international teams for safety reasons.
However, the governing body’s guidelines were recommendations only and are not binding on national unions in their domestic competitions.
Resisting official advice, the French federation issued a statement saying its executive board unanimously voted in favour of the proposal from its Anti-Discrimination and Equal Treatment Commission.
“Rugby is an inclusive, sharing sport, without distinction of sex, gender, origin or religion,” said Serge Simon, the vice-president of the French rugby federation.
“It is important to allow all our members to practise their passion while respecting everyone’s rights.”
Two years ahead of the World Cup in France, the French federation added that the vote sends a “benevolent and resolute signal that respect for minorities is an irrefutable right in our sport”.
It confirmed that transgender people “physically reassigned and recognised in their current gender” can play in all its official competitions.
People transitioning to their new sexual identity will need to provide proof their civil record has changed, the federation said.
Transgender people transitioning from male to female should also demonstrate that they have been undergoing hormonal treatment for at least 12 months.
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