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Volleyball Nova Scotia makes ruling on transgender athletes

Volleyball Nova Scotia has issued a ruling on transgender athletes.
Volleyball Nova Scotia has issued a ruling on transgender athletes.

TC MEDIA - Being inclusive is important to Volleyball Nova Scotia.

That’s why the decision was made to allow athletes to compete in the gender category they identify with, regardless of the sex they were assigned at birth.

The association was recently approached on behalf of a young athlete who transgender-identifies, so until the board of directors meets in January and can form a policy, a temporary ruling had to be made.

Policies from Ontario and British Columbia were studied and the emotions of those involved were taken into consideration.

“Being a teen is hard enough without having to work through identity issues like this and sport is often the thing you can turn to, whatever is going on,” said Paul Worden, who is president of Volleyball Nova Scotia (VNS) and a Truro pastor. “I would hate to take that away from anyone.”

Worden knows the value of the game for young people. He has been involved since he was a child and has three children now playing, as well as a wife who coaches.

VNS includes young people from age nine to 19, and will allow athletes competing in any VNS sanctioned event to participate, in accordance with their declared gender identity, irrespective of what is listed on documents and regardless of whether they have undergone any medical treatments.

Worden said feedback on the ruling to date has been overwhelmingly positive.

The most common objection relating to transgender athletes is competitive advantage, as someone transitioning from male to female may be tall and have greater upper body strength.

“With the right physique, there could be advantages, but our greater responsibility is to the human for self expression and to do what is best for them emotionally,” said Worden.

Transgender players can contact VNS directly or through their local club, expressing a wish to play, in accordance with the ruling. All athletes may be subject to drug testing so those taking medication related to gender reassignment should contact the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport (CCES) to determine whether they require a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE).

VNS will keep all personal information on transgender athletes confidential.

That’s why the decision was made to allow athletes to compete in the gender category they identify with, regardless of the sex they were assigned at birth.

The association was recently approached on behalf of a young athlete who transgender-identifies, so until the board of directors meets in January and can form a policy, a temporary ruling had to be made.

Policies from Ontario and British Columbia were studied and the emotions of those involved were taken into consideration.

“Being a teen is hard enough without having to work through identity issues like this and sport is often the thing you can turn to, whatever is going on,” said Paul Worden, who is president of Volleyball Nova Scotia (VNS) and a Truro pastor. “I would hate to take that away from anyone.”

Worden knows the value of the game for young people. He has been involved since he was a child and has three children now playing, as well as a wife who coaches.

VNS includes young people from age nine to 19, and will allow athletes competing in any VNS sanctioned event to participate, in accordance with their declared gender identity, irrespective of what is listed on documents and regardless of whether they have undergone any medical treatments.

Worden said feedback on the ruling to date has been overwhelmingly positive.

The most common objection relating to transgender athletes is competitive advantage, as someone transitioning from male to female may be tall and have greater upper body strength.

“With the right physique, there could be advantages, but our greater responsibility is to the human for self expression and to do what is best for them emotionally,” said Worden.

Transgender players can contact VNS directly or through their local club, expressing a wish to play, in accordance with the ruling. All athletes may be subject to drug testing so those taking medication related to gender reassignment should contact the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport (CCES) to determine whether they require a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE).

VNS will keep all personal information on transgender athletes confidential.

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