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Battle for Female Rights Hits Irish Dancing as Trans Performer Takes 1st Place from Girls

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Parents and dance teachers involved in competitive Irish dancing are fighting to maintain fairness and equal rights for female performers after a biologically male teenager who identifies as a girl placed first in a female competition in Dallas, Texas.

In a petition circulating online, more than 4,500 people are calling for “support to protect female dancers’ rights at an Irish dancing world qualifying championship.”

“While recognizing and celebrating diversity and inclusivity, we believe that maintaining separate categories for transgender individuals and female participants is essential to ensuring fair and equitable competition,” reads the petition by “Concerned Irish Dance Teachers Adjudicators Parents and Dancers.”

The group argues that there are biological differences between girls and boys, adding that there should be safeguards to not only give girls a fair opportunity to compete but also allow there to be “integrity and fairness” in competitive Irish Dance.  

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“While recognizing the importance of inclusivity, our aim is to foster an environment that upholds the principles of fairness and equal rights and opportunity for all dancers,” it concludes. “By signing this petition, you express your support for the protection of female rights in Irish Dance World qualifying championships and advocate for the implementation of policies that maintain a fair and inclusive environment for all participants.”

A biologically male teenager will be competing in the Irish Dancing World Championships after placing first in the U14 2023 Southern Region Oireachtas competitions, The Daily Signal first reported.

Former dance results show that the child formerly competed as a boy and placed 11th in the world in the Coimisiún Le Rincí Gaelacha World Championships in April 2023, according to the outlet. 

Parents of girls who have competed in the sports have expressed frustration and outrage citing that the child has greater physical advantages than their daughters. 

The Coimisiún Le Rincí Gaelacha (CLRG), the governing body for global competitive Irish step dancing, said in a statement that they are “committed to creating a safe and inclusive environment for every child in our Irish dance community.”

Meanwhile, Riley Gaines, a former female college swimmer who was forced to compete against a biological male, spoke out about the incident saying on X, “This week a boy stole a qualifying spot for the upcoming World Championships in Irish dancing. I’ve talked to many of the girls and parents & they’re distraught. Sign this petition to show support for the female dancers.”

A counter-petition has been launched by individuals supporting boys who compete as girls in Irish Dance competitions.

“We, the Irish dancing community, voice our unequivocal support for transgender dancers and for these dancers to continue competing as their true selves in the category that best aligns with their gender identity in all competitions hosted by CLRG and its subsidiary or affiliated organizations (including national and regional councils),” reads the “Support Transgender Irish Dancers” petition.  So far, it has 2,248 signatures. 

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