Transgender footballer Hannah Mouncey has slammed the AFL’s gender diversity policy and is preparing to take the league to court to fight for the right to play in Canberra’s first-grade women’s competition.
Mouncey, who was prevented from entering the AFLW draft in 2017 based on her “strength, stamina or physique”, is now unable to play in the ACT’s top female comp unless she meets certain criteria outlined in a new AFL policy released in October last year.
The 31-year-old said she had met with the AFL’s legal department since the release of the policy but has been left unsatisfied, prompting her to consider legal action.
“This is not a step I take lightly and not one which I have had any desire to take if it could be avoided, however I believe at this point I have no other option if I want to play football in the AFL Canberra First Grade Competition in 2021,” Mouncey wrote in a lengthy statement she posted to social media.
Under the new policies, there are now three requirements that must be met for trans or non-binary footballers to play in the AFLW.
The three requirements are:
– Testosterone levels to have been at or below five nmol/L for at least two years prior
– If that threshold is met, trans women and non-binary people may nominate for the AFLW Draft or apply to play in other elite competitions by providing information regarding their height, weight, bench press, 20m sprint, vertical jump, GPS data and 2km time trial
– If the application is approved, the player is required to maintain their total testosterone levels below five nmol/L, and may be required to undergo periodic testing.
From a community football standpoint, the new policy states that “transgender women may play in women‘s competitions, transgender men can play in men’s competitions and non-binary people can choose which competition to play in.”
Also at community level, the statement notes that “Gender diverse players may not be excluded for reasons of relevant competitive advantage over cisgender players in the competition.”
Mouncey, who will instead have to play in the B grade because it’s not considered part of the AFLW development pathway, said she was making a stand for the wider trans community.
“If I could avoid taking legal action I would, however in the meetings I have had with the AFL I came away each time feeling that they were not being had in good faith; instead I came away feeling simply that the meetings were being held so that I could be fobbed off by the AFL‘s legal team while they could still say they had a meeting,” she wrote.
“I cannot emphasise enough how much I do not want to take this step. I have no desire to play AFLW, and it is simply my hope that common sense will prevail and that I will be able to play in the AFL Canberra first grade competition rather than having to play second grade.
“This is not a step I take just because being able to play football is important to me, but it is because for too long the trans community has been on the fringes of society and marginalised.
“Trans people deserve to be treated with the same amount of respect and dignity as the rest of society, to be made to feel a valued part of the community.
“I and many others have sat back and watched as racism is shouted down, sexism is shouted down; as society and the wider sporting community makes it clear that neither are acceptable in 2021.
“In the age where all manner of abuse is called out the moment it is seen or heard, transphobia it seems largely goes unchecked. This is not OK, the message it sends to trans adults and kids all around the world is not OK, and to not take action when it is so obviously needed is not OK either.”
– with foxsports.com.au