Two online petitions are circulating regarding the matter of trans competitors in Irish dance after a trans girl, a minor, won her competition at the Southern Region Oireachtas earlier this month.

Despite leadership within An Coimisiún Le Rincí Gaelacha (CLRG, the oldest and largest competitive Irish dance organization in the world) and its subset the Irish Dance Teachers Association of North America (IDTANA) saying there is "established precedent" allowing Irish dancers to compete in the category that aligns with their gender identity, critics claim the trans Irish dancer “robbed” her competitors of a placement and World-qualifying spot at the Oireachtas.

Now, two petitions have been launched over the past week on regarding trans competitors in Irish dance.

On December 7, “Protect Female Irish Dancers in Gender-Specific World Qualifying Championships Worldwide” was launched by ‘Concerned Irish Dance Teachers Adjudicators Parents and Dancers.’ At the time of publication on Monday night, it had drawn more than 4,300 signatures.

This petition says, in part: “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.”

It cites “biological differences” and “protecting opportunities" as its main reasons to support the petition. 

While many signatories claim they want to 'protect females,' some claimed that the trans Irish dancer "cheated."

This dancer did not “cheat.” A statement was issued ahead of the Southern Region Oireachtas reminding people that CLRG and IDTANA have established precedent that allows Irish dancers to compete under their gender identity. 

The petition was launched the same day The Daily Signal, which says it "focuses on underreported news related to conservative policies and interests," ran an article entitled “Parents Outraged After Trans-Identifying Boy Wins Girls’ Irish Dancing Competition, Heads to Worlds.”

The Daily Signal article was later cited in articles from similarly conservative US outlets including The Daily Wire and Media Research Centre, as well as Catholic Vote and American Principles. It spread further on social media and on Monday, it featured on Irish outlet Gript.

(Shockingly, Media Research Centre baselessly claimed that the trans Irish dancer "wanted to dance in the girls' competitions for better results.")

On Saturday, the petition was amplified when Riley Gaines, a former college athlete who campaigns against the participation of trans women in women's sports, called upon her more than 853k followers on X to sign it and "put pressure on CLRG."

Notably, none of these outlets or voices took issue with the sexual abuse scandal that emerged in 2019, nor the cheating scandal that emerged in 2022, both of which demonstrably impacted Irish dancers, including minors, negatively.

The day after the first petition was launched, Gabrielle Siegel, an adult Irish dancer based in Connecticut who has been competing for 10 years, launched “Support Transgender Irish Dancers," an open letter to CLRG, on

The petition says in part: "We are proud that our sport has established itself as a leader in the world of athletic competition and has chosen the path that aligns with kindness, science, and humanity.

"We look forward to a future where dancers not only continue to compete in the category that aligns with their gender identity but are celebrated universally by all members of their community.

"Trans dancers have the right to compete. Trans dancers have the right to succeed. We stand strong in alignment with the transgender Irish dance community."

At the time of publication on Monday evening, the petition had drawn more than 1,800 signatures.

"When I first saw the transphobic backlash to this dancer’s win, I literally started shaking," Siegel told me on Monday.

"It was bad enough to see so many people using baseless accusations to try and undermine anybody’s success. But what put me over the edge was seeing people hurl outright cruelty at a child.

"I remember what it was like to be a teenage girl. I was a closeted member of the LGBTQ+ community at that age, and I genuinely can’t imagine being subjected to that level of harassment or bullying at that age."

The trans Irish dancer's teacher told me on Friday that it had been a "challenging week" for the dancer, but that they were "focusing on supporting her as we always have within our school, and sharing the messages of support with receive with her."

Indeed, the trans Irish dancer's social media was hit with abusive language on Friday. "Cheating scrote" and "you and your parents are cheaters," one person wrote in since-deleted comments that were, thankfully, in the minority of a sea of supportive comments on the dancer's page.

Still, abusive comments persist. On Monday, one commenter wrote on Facebook in response to an Irish outlet's article on the trans dancer, a minor: "I wonder if he got a kick in the nuts would he identify as a girl." 

Siegel said she was motivated to launch the petition after she saw many people speaking out in favor of trans dancers on social media and out of fear that CLRG, IDTANA, and the Southern Region would only hear the opposing viewpoint.

"I knew we had to find a way to organize our support and show definitively that the Irish dance community stood proudly behind our trans community members," Siegel told me on Monday.

Siegel said that she consulted with a friend, a trans Irish dancer, to write the open letter that's featured in the petition, though the final petition is published under her name.

"Unfortunately, a lot of trans dancers face a lot of backlash when they speak on these issues," Siegel said, "so we felt it would be safest to do everything under my name."

Siegel says she has a lot of trans friends within the Irish dance community who are "all vocal about how it is both life-changing and often life-saving to have their gender consistently affirmed and that Irish dance is an important part of that."

She says her friends have "all fought hard in their own way to have their gender affirmed within the Irish dance community," including a non-binary dancer in another organization who dances in an age group where all competitions are mixed-gender, and another friend who "fought and won years ago to be able to compete in the men’s competition where he lives."

When asked about the feedback she's received so far, Siegel said: "I’ve heard from so many trans dancers, and so many people across the community — teachers, parents, non-trans dancers — who are simply passionate about equality and support for all dancers.

"It’s been amazing to see."

Siegel added: "I think it’s really telling that CLRG’s policy has been in place for years, and nobody has even noticed. It took a dancer succeeding for there to be an uproar in response. It should be enough to say we need to support all of our dancers — and that any arguments about biological advantage are not only not evidence-based, but don’t even apply to the way Irish dance is judged.

"But this isn’t even new. We already have the evidence we need that there is no unfair advantage."

At the time of publication on Monday, the first petition has drawn more signatures than Siegel's.

Thankfully - in this instance - CLRG is not often swayed by the court of public opinion. CLRG has already made the right call regarding trans competitors and hopefully, it will stand by its self-described "established precedent."

Meanwhile, a KFF / Washington Post study conducted earlier this year found that "trans adults are much less likely than cisgender adults to say that they felt safe as a child or teenager at home, in school, participating in youth sports and other activities, or in religious gatherings." 

Let Irish dancing be a place where trans youth can feel safe.