Petition demands fairness for female Irish dancers after boy wins major competition

(The Daily Signal) – Dance instructors and parents within the world of Irish dance are circulating a petition calling for fairness in girls’ competitions after a teenage boy who…

(The Daily Signal) – Dance instructors and parents within the world of Irish dance are circulating a petition calling for fairness in girls’ competitions after a teenage boy who identifies as a girl placed first in a female competition.

“We, the undersigned, hereby express our support to protect female dancers’ rights at an Irish dancing world qualifying championship,” reads one petition, which was started by “Concerned Irish Dance Teachers Adjudicators Parents and Dancers.”

“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,” the petition adds.

The petition cites the biological differences between boys and girls as well as the importance of protecting opportunities for girls as reasons why others should support their cause.

“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.”

As of Monday morning, that petition had garnered 4,043 signatures.

The Daily Signal first reported on Thursday that the teenage boy is heading to the Irish Dancing World Championships after placing first in the U14 2023 Southern Region Oireachtas competitions. 

Parents of girls competing in Irish dance shared that they are frustrated and outraged and cannot understand why a boy with physical advantages is allowed to dance against their daughters.

The Daily Signal has chosen not to name or picture the boy who won the U14 dance competition since he is a minor. 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. The CLRG is the governing body for global competitive Irish step dancing.

Since the publication of The Daily Signal’s original story, a slew of other outlets have reported on the matter. Riley Gaines, an advocate for females forced to compete against men identifying as women, threw her weight behind one of the petitions on Saturday.

“This week a boy stole a qualifying spot for the upcoming World Championships in Irish dancing,” she tweeted. “I’ve talked to many of the girls and parents & they’re distraught. Sign this petition to show support for the female dancers.”

Another petition, started by those who support boys who identify as girls competing with girls, calls for support for “transgender Irish dancers.”

“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 [the dancing commission] CLRG and its subsidiary or affiliated organizations (including national and regional councils),” the petition says.

“This includes all major competitions on the regional, national, or world level, including all local feiseanna. We represent a community of active dancers, teachers, adjudicators, professional dancers, retired dancers, families of dancers, and other individuals invested in the future of Irish dance and the success of its dancers,” it continues. “We recognize the right of transgender dancers to succeed in our sport, and celebrate their wins without exception.”

That petition had about 1,625 signatures as of Monday morning.

In a statement to the Daily Signal last week, the Coimisiún Le Rincí Gaelacha said merely that “CLRG is committed to creating a safe and inclusive environment for every child in our Irish dance community.”

The CLRG (recently under fire for “feis-fixing” allegations that Irish dancing teachers were bestowing sexual favors on judges in exchange for their pupils’ advancements) did not immediately return a request for comment regarding the petition.