trans and gender diverse sports
3 min read

In a world-first, Australian Sports have committed to implementing rules that support a greater level of inclusion for trans and gender diverse people in their sports.

Sports such as AFL, Hockey, Netball, Rugby, Tennis, Touch Football, Water Polo and UniSport Australia have come together at the Sydney Cricket Ground today to unveil their policies and guidelines relating to the participation of trans and gender diverse people.

Many other sports who have not yet developed their plans have also committed to developing frameworks for their sports in the future. Cricket Australia launched their own guidelines in 2019 and have committed to supporting other sports throughout this process.

Speaking at the launch in the shadows of the SCG grandstands Pride in Sport National Program Manager Beau Newell said that the joint commitment made by the sports marks a major moment in Australian sport.

“This launch demonstrates a fundamental shift within Australian sport towards the greater inclusion of trans and gender diverse athletes,” Newell said.

“By formalising their stand to be inclusive of trans and gender diverse people, these Australian sports have shown a true and tangible commitment to providing environments where everyone involved is treated with respect and dignity.

“Sport has an amazing opportunity to provide a safe and inclusive environment to all people, including people with diverse genders and sexualities.

“As a country that holds sport very close to our hearts, it also has a unique position to be able to help change attitudes of many Australians.

“The demand for more inclusive sporting cultures makes clear that Australian society increasingly expects that sport should be for everyone, including trans and gender diverse people.”

Data from the Australian National LGBTI Health Alliance state that trans and gender diverse adults are nearly 11 times more likely to attempt suicide than the general population, with 35% of trans and gender diverse adults have attempted suicide in their lifetime.

International research concludes that trans and gender diverse people are much less likely to participate in sport due to fear of transphobic discrimination from other players, coaches and club officials.

ACON’s Pride in Sport program has been at the forefront of these sports designing their guidelines.

Manager of Trans and Gender Diverse Equity for ACON Teddy Cook said while many trans people across Australia are members of very inclusive sports clubs, many also report that joining a club is an intimidating and frightening experience.

“The commitment from these sports provides much needed guidance to the many clubs working hard to be the open and inclusive sport they want to be for all athletes, including those athletes who are trans,” Cook said.

“It is the right of every player, coach, volunteer and fan to feel accepted and affirmed, on and off the sporting field, including trans and gender diverse people, and we know that when this happens, mental and physical health outcomes dramatically improve.”

AFL General Manager of Inclusion and Social Policy Tanya Hosch said the AFL wanted to thank the community members who have been patiently engaged with them during this process, in particular the gender diverse community who were extremely generous in sharing with their experience and views which has influenced the release of the policies.

“Australian football is a game for everyone, regardless of background, ethnicity, race, religion, gender or gender identity,” Hosch said.

“The AFL is committed to supporting gender diverse people participate in our sport and has developed policies to ensure they can participate in a safe and inclusive environment. We don’t want anyone to experience discrimination in our game.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Tennis Australia CEO Craig Tiley said tennis was unwavering in playing a part to ensure an inclusive society.

“We welcome the introduction of these guidelines in making our communities accessible for all,” Tiley said.

“We will continue to promote and celebrate inclusiveness and diversity, and are proud of our efforts to welcome all members of our community to participate in our sport.

“The tennis court and club should be a place of enjoyment and comfort for everyone, where people from all walks of life get to know each other without fear of judgement or harassment.”

For more information on the guidelines go here.


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