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25 Aug 2022

Volleyball England policy for transgender participation

Volleyball England policy for transgender participation

Following an extensive research and review process, we are today releasing our policy for transgender participation in volleyball in England.

Developing this policy was a complex process involving multiple stakeholders and in-depth research and consultation. We feel the policy is appropriate for volleyball right now and commit to ensuring it continues to be so with regular reviews.

In line with the UK's Sports Councils Guidance for Transgender Inclusion in Domestic Sport, inclusion, fairness, and safety were the three main policy considerations. We are committed to supporting opportunities for everyone to be involved in volleyball. However, we cannot look past the fact volleyball is a gender-affected sport.

In a review of published research, Sport England found that with or without testosterone suppression, there is no appreciable loss of strength or physique in transitioning males. Therefore, based on the current volleyball competition formats, safety and fairness cannot be reconciled with self-identification in the female category.  

As a result, we have concluded that while a transgender woman can still play in the male category of competition, a transgender woman cannot play in the female category of competition.

The policy also states that a transgender man can continue to play in female competition unless testosterone hormone treatment has commenced. A transgender man can play in male competitions too.

This policy will come into effect immediately and be regularly reviewed.  

Support and drop-in sessions

Rob Payne, Interim Deputy CEO of Volleyball England, said: "Thank you to the many individuals and organisations that have contributed to the policy's development. 

"We are confident our precautionary approach is the right one to take for volleyball right now but are absolutely committed to reviewing it as new research emerges. 

"If you have been impacted by this policy or have any questions or feedback, I would encourage you to reach out. There are many different participation opportunities, and we are here to help you remain involved."  

We want to offer support to ensure everyone continues to be involved and feels welcome in the Volleyball Family. If you are a participant and have concerns or questions, please contact info@volleyballengland.org. Likewise, please use the same email address if you are part of a volleyball club or organization and have further questions.

We will also be holding one-to-one drop-in sessions between 7-8.30pm on both 30th and 31st August. Click here to join at the time. Once in the main meeting room you will be allocated a breakout room where you can speak to a member of staff.

Media enquiries should be directed to communications@volleyballengland.org.

Read our transgender participation policy in full here.