Updated: Aug 23, 2020
Event Date: August 24, 2020 - 6:00-7:00 p.m. EST
Moderator: Jenny Lui
Presenters: Jenn Levi and Lori Rifkin
The Guardian recently shared that World Rugby has a 38-page draft policy document supporting the exclusion transgender women from playing rugby at elite levels of international play. This new proposal would reverse USA Rugby policy that has been in place for nearly two decades, which allows transgender women with hormone levels comparable to those of other women to play rugby at competitive levels. Transgender women have been doing so throughout the United States and the world since at least 2003 with not a single reported safety incident related to transgender identity. The World Rugby proposal is not supported by medical science.
The adoption by World Rugby of a policy that excludes transgender women from elite play will disrupt and interfere with current team and club relationships and dynamics. The structure of rugby throughout the United States is designed to foster player development by participation in and progression through high school, college, community, and then competitive league play, like the Women’s Premier League (WPL).
Please join noted civil rights and LGBTQ attorneys Jenn Levi and Lori Rifkin on Monday, August 24 at 6:00 p.m. EST. Jenn and Lori will explain World Rugby's proposed policy and discuss the ramifications of the policy on women’s teams at every level. Participants will receive an explanation of the policy they can share with team members and have an opportunity to ask questions of the presenters. The conversation will also build on themes discussed during the Bodies Out of Bounds session at the 2020 WRCRA Conference.
Jenny Lui, Eagle #210, currently serves on the International Athlete (IA) Council, stewarding the experiences of past, present, and future Eagles. Within the IA Council, she leads the Transgender Policy working group, which has been tasked with providing feedback on World Rugby's proposed ban on transgender women in women's rugby. Jenny is also part of the USA Women's 15s coaching staff as an assistant coach, a WPL referee, and the co-founder of Project Rugby Love, a non-profit that helps grow the game.
Jenn Levi is the director of GLAD’s Transgender Rights Project and a nationally recognized expert on transgender legal issues. She is one of two transgender attorneys leading the legal fight against President Trump’s transgender military ban in both Doe v. Trump and Stockman v. Trump. Levi was co-counsel in two landmark marriage equality cases, winning the freedom to marry for same-sex couples in Massachusetts (Goodridge v. Department of Public Health, 2003) and Connecticut (Kerrigan v. Department of Public Health, 2008), and recently secured a groundbreaking child-centered parentage ruling at the Vermont Supreme Court (Sinnott v. Peck, 2017). Jenn is a law professor at Western New England University, co-editor of Transgender Family Law: A Guide to Effective Advocacy (2012), and serves on the Legal Committee of the World Professional Association for Transgender Health. She has a BA from Wellesley College and a JD from the University of Chicago Law School. Jenn played for Boston WRFC from 1986-1989; Chicago WRFC from 1989-1992; and Beantown from 1992-1993. Jenn was a member of the United States team at the World Rugby Festival in New Zealand in 1990 and was named to the World XV (and played for World XV v. NZ XV). Jenn played for the USA in the 1991 Women’s World Cup and in the1996 Canada Cup.
Lori Rifkin founded Rifkin Law Office, a civil rights law firm in Oakland, CA, in 2013 after working as a civil rights lawyer in the public and private sectors. Lori is lead counsel in a groundbreaking case with National Center for Lesbian Rights on behalf of a transgender woman imprisoned in Idaho that resulted this year in the first court-ordered gender confirmation surgery for an incarcerated person in the United States. Throughout her career, Lori has represented numerous LGBTI clients in cases involving access to health care, relationship equality, and discrimination. During the Obama administration, Lori worked as a senior trial attorney in the Civil Rights Division of the US Department of Justice, and served on the LGBTI Workgroup that advised the DOJ on LGBTI issues. She graduated from Harvard College and New York University School of Law. Lori played rugby with Radcliffe RFC from 1996-2000, the Berkeley All Blues from 2000-2001 & 2006-2007, New York Rugby Club from 2001-2005, and the DC Furies from 2011-2013. She was a member of the USA U-23 Side in 2002 and the USA Senior Eagle Pool & Developmental Side in 2003-2004. She now coaches high school girls’ rugby in the Bay Area.