DRAFT TRANSGENDER POLICY – NOVEMBER 2021

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Trans and Gender Diverse Policy

Bowls is an inclusive sport, open to all who wish to be involved in any capacity and we encourage all trans and non-binary participants to take part. 

Whilst the physical demands of bowls are more modest than most sports, bowls is a gender-affected sport.   As such, it is the responsibility of the National Governing Body (NGB) to ensure that it provides a framework for fair competition and has due regard for the safety of all competitors, whilst also ensuring there is an opportunity for everyone to take part. 

Legal framework

The policy outlined in this document ensures the following UK legislation is considered:

Definitions (Find more information, including a glossary of terms here)

  • Non-binary: An umbrella term for people whose gender identity does not sit comfortably with ‘man’ or ‘woman’.
  • Trans: An umbrella term to describe people whose gender is not the same as, or does not sit comfortably with, the sex they were assigned at birth.

We commit to creating a safe and welcoming space for all players.  We will ensure that all individuals will be able to take part in bowls without fear or harassment and that all club members and visitors will be able to enjoy our sport and feel comfortable in the environment it provides. 

  • All members of the NGB affiliated clubs must:
  • Treat all trans and non-binary members with respect.
  • Welcome all trans and non-binary member as you would any other member.
  • Accept all members in the gender they present. If you require verification of identity it should be the same for all members.
  • Respect the privacy of all members’ information, including their gender identity. This is protected in law.
  • Take the lead from the member. Ask their name and if presented with a pronoun use them.
  • Not make assumptions about any member’s gender identity or related characteristics or stereotypes attached to that gender.
  • In line with the Government Equalities Office document ‘Providing services for transgender customers’ 2015, allow a trans person to select the facilities appropriate to the gender in which they present.
  • Report any incidence of a breach of this policy to your NGB.

 

Club membership and non-competitive activity

If an existing club member needs to change the gender already listed on the membership record they will be required to notify the NGB of a change of gender identity in line with the specified process, which will be recorded by the NGB.

A member’s gender identity cannot be changed mid-season, but we encourage members to socially transition and remain competing in the category they began the season competing in.

Members can take part in any NGB sanctioned non-competitive activity in their self-identified gender.  All members should be treated with respect at all times and if concerns are reported relating to the acceptance of trans and/or non-binary members in any activity, the matter should be referred to us in line with our Disciplinary Regulations.

Competitive activity

The Gender Recognition Act 2004 makes specific provision for sporting organisations to potentially prohibit or restrict a person with an acquired gender from competing in an event or events involving a gender-affected sport.  A sport is a gender-affected sport if the physical strength, stamina or physique of average persons of one gender would put them at a disadvantage to average persons of the other gender as competitors in events involving the sport.  The sport of bowls is a gender-affected sport.

Applications to compete in the women’s category:

Applications from any trans or non-binary member who seeks to compete in the women’s category shall be required to comply with the stipulations outlined below.

International competition (defined as any event at international level; examples include but not limited to Test Matches, British Isles, World Bowls and Commonwealth Games):

  • Notify your NGB of a change of gender identity in line with the specified process. The information will be recorded by your NGB.
  • This gender identity cannot be changed for a minimum of 4 years.
  • Submit an attestation from a medical professional that the member’s total testosterone level in serum has been below 10 nmol/L for at least 12 months prior to the member’s first competition and must remain below 10 nmol/L whilst competing in the women’s category.

National competition and local competition (defined as any event that leads to world and/or British Isles and/or national and/or county and/or district and/or club finals; and any national, county and district leagues):

  • Notify your NGB of a change of gender identity in line with the specified process. The information will be recorded by your NGB. The confirmation of change on gender identify will be shared with any County Association (if applicable) that the participants club is affiliated to.
  • A member’s gender identity cannot be changed mid-season, but we encourage members to socially transition and remain competing in the category they began the season competing in.
  • Submit an attestation from a medical professional that the member’s total testosterone level in serum has been below 10 nmol/L prior to the member’s first competition and must remain below 10 nmol/L whilst competing in the women’s category.

Other local, intra-club and friendly competition (defined as any event any other activity other than that described in ‘International Competition’ and ‘National Competition and local competition’):

  • Notify Bowls England of a change of gender identity in line with the specified process. The information will be recorded by Bowls England.
  • A member’s gender identity cannot be changed mid-season, but we encourage members to socially transition and remain competing in the category they began the season competing in.

Applications to compete in the men’s category:

Applications from any trans or non-binary member who seeks to compete in the men’s category shall be asked to comply with stipulations outlined below.

All competition:

  • Notify your NGB of a change of gender identity in line with the specified process. The information will be recorded by your NGB.
  • A member’s gender identity cannot be changed mid-season, but we encourage members to socially transition and remain competing in the category they began the season competing in.

Members under 18 years:

All under 18-year-old members for whom this policy is relevant may compete in a girls’, boys’, or mixed team, regardless of their sex assigned at birth.  This includes any under 18 competing in over 18 competition.  The member’s gender identity must not be changed mid-season and is only permitted to enter competitions related to one gender.

Compliance

Your NGB will take appropriate measures for any breach of this policy in line with disciplinary policies, procedures, and processes.  All information will be collected and stored in accordance with GDPR and Data Protection Act 2018.

  • Your NGB will monitor and regulate the sport to ensure:
  • Fairness and integrity of competitions.
  • Members compete in the category of competition for which they have satisfied the eligibility criteria set out in this policy.
  • All members are compliant with this policy.
  • No direct discrimination, indirect discrimination, harassment or victimisation is taken against a member on the grounds of their gender identity.
  • Any other breach or non-compliance with this policy.

Process for notification

Notifications are to be made in writing to your NGB.

Education and FAQs

We understand the importance of education as part of understanding and implementing this policy.  Resources are available to support clubs, and both your NGB and the Bowls Development Alliance can provide practical guidance and advice. 

Endorsement and Review

This document is the approved trans and non-binary policy for the combined National Governing Body Bowling Associations and partners, Bowls England, British Crown Green Bowling Association, the English Indoor Bowling Association and Disability Bowls England.

This policy will be trialled during the 2021 season and we will consult stakeholders in the sport throughout the summer.  The policy will be reviewed in the off-season taking on board any future research findings or change in guidance from the Sports Council Equality Group.