The first thing that jumps out to me from the Ladies Gaelic Football Association (LGFA) document on Transgender Policy that was ratified on February 15 is that the introduction “recognises that LGFA is not just a sport,” and goes on to note that apart from its specific commitment to the promotion of gaelic football and the virtues of sports participation among women and girls, that it shares the traditional commitments of the GAA to promotion Irish culture.
Clearly, however, in this context, being “not just a sport” is the rationale for signing the LGFA up to a rather different agenda. Indeed, the reference might even be taken to imply that the LGFA’s acceptance of transgender athletes has nothing primarily to do with sport at all.
Why otherwise ought it to have decided to allow biological males in possession of a Gender Recognition Certificate to take part alongside actual females?
It is a decision that has not only puzzled, but clearly angered many people, including people who are active in the women’s game and parents of girls who play gaelic football.
The LGFA decision must be seen in the context where acceptance of the dubious ideology of transgenderism is something that all “progressive” and right-thinking people and organisations are expected to embrace, and that failure to do so risks such people and organisations being cast out among the unworthy.
Many organisations are nervous of any decision that might invite attack from transgender extremists and their mainstream supporters, and even the possibility of threats to funding and media exposure.
It is also noteworthy that the onus is placed not upon males who for whatever reason decide that they are female to prove that they are an acceptable risk in regards to all of the obvious issues – physical danger on the field, the sharing of toilets and dressing rooms etc – but on people who might object on those grounds.
The issue itself was fast tracked by an obviously biological adult male, who uses the name Guilia Valentino, playing football for Na Gaeil Aeracha against Na Fianna last July. The referee stopped the game to tell Na Gaeil Aeracha “the player is a man”.
Not only does the photograph make a mockery of the nonsense used to justify the person’s playing against teenage girls many years his junior and much lighter physically, but the publicity around it raised the suspicion was that this was a calculated move to make transgender participation in gaelic sports another issue around which the extreme wing of the intersectional left could mobilise.
That suspicion was heightened when Valentino gave an interview to The Guardian last September in which Valentino claimed that the objections were part of the “toxic narrative against trans people we know so well.” Well, of course it was. It is always about “me”, is it not? Never about the legitimate objections of others.
And the English liberal media and its caricature here were only to happy to regard the whole episode as yet another brave person attempting to “leave a legacy” in a country which The Guardian condescendingly acknowledged was moving away from all the dreadful rural Catholic stuff and catching up with the outstanding healthy social cohesion of the Mother Ship. It is probably framed in offices on Tara Street and Leinster House.
The LGFA came out publicly at the time and stated that it was then in the process of framing its policy on transgender participation. Everything was going to plan, really.
However, the reaction to the LGFA’s decision, to judge by social media and general comment has not been positive, to put it mildly.
The main issue is, as it has been in other countries, the safety of the women and girls who take part in gaelic football.
There is the obvious physical aspect, which is why there are separate men and women’s grades in all team sports that include physical contact. There is also the understandable concern particularly on the part of parents of girls that they might have to share changing facilities with males.
It is surely ironic that, as with the issue of toilets and biological males who have decided they are female being placed among women prisoners, the extremists who support transgender ideology are not only dismissive of those concerns as evidence of “toxic” phobias of one sort or another but are in many cases consumed with a vicious hatred of anyone who challenges their absurdities.
The positive thing about all of this, as Gript has documented with regards to Tavistock, and as has brought a spectacular end to the career of former Scottish National Party leader Nicola Sturgeon, is that more and more people including many on the traditional feminist left are rejecting this nonsense.
They are not motivated by any hatred of the tiny number of people who suffer from gender dysphoria, but by the mounting evidence of the harm and abuse the mainstreaming of this nonsense has caused.
It is perhaps typical of the liberal left in this country – and its gormless imitators within the Irish state including at the highest levels who think that ratifying all of this crap is the way to win “progressive” voters away from the Shinners – that just as the ideology of extreme transgenderism is being challenged in the United States and Britain, that they are unthinkingly in the process of repeating the very same mistakes here.
As for the LGFA, while they are opening the doors to god only knows what, they might note that their peers among other women’s sports in other countries are clearly indicating that they have had enough of little girls being made the unwitting extras in the psychodrama of tiny numbers of men acting out their “issue.”
That is why there is uproar about an adult male in England being allow play cricket against girls as young as 12.
It’s why World Rugby decided, “based on medical and scientific evidence”, that “contact rugby for players in the female category is limited to those whose sex was recorded as female at birth”.
As they said: “Recent peer reviewed research provides evidence that there are physical differences between those people whose sex was assigned as male and those as female at birth, and advantages in strength, stamina and physique brought about by male puberty are significant and retained even after testosterone suppression.”
Stating the obvious, one would have thought – but the LGFA doesn’t seem to see it that way.
The response from women has been furious, with one group, The Countess, saying the LGFA “have betrayed women and girls in sports.”
On social media and in GAA whatsapp groups, players and parents have also been expressing strong opposition.
Danielle Loughrey, the PRO for the Donegal County Board, told the Independent that, in her view, “There was no consultation and they don’t seem to have taken into consideration the safety concerns of the female players”.
“How are we supposed to encourage young girls to play when there could be a man in the opposite team?” she asked, adding that she is thinking of leaving the sport in response to the decision.
The response to one person who tried the usual tactic of maligning objectors as motivated by reactionary prejudice was also sharp and to the point.
It would also seem that the Guila Valentino who has managed to play themselves at the centre of all of all of this, may have slightly more exotic interests and kicking football against girls.
It is time that people shouted stop. It is also to be hoped that those prominent people within both the women’s game and within the gaelic sports and Irish sports community generally who have privately expressed their anger and disgust at this virtue signalling nonsense will go public and help to reverse this decision by the LGFA.
Take a leaf out of the book of other sports, and out of the book of the Scottish National Party who decided that they had enough of Nicola Sturgeon’s pandering to a tiny minority of extremists.