Australian sports bodies commit to inclusion of trans athletes


acon pride in sport transgender athletes rugby cricket tennis
Photo: ACON/Pride in Sport

Eight Australian sports bodies have unveiled guidelines for the participation of transgender athletes in their competitions.

ACON and its Pride in Sport program spearheaded the initiative, launched on Thursday. It was driven by a need for national guidance on how sports can be inclusive of trans and gender-diverse people.

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“Many trans people across Australia are members of very inclusive sports clubs,” ACON’s Teddy Cook said.

“[However] 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, who is ACON’s Manager of Trans and Gender Diverse Equity, said “every player, coach, volunteer and fan” should feel “accepted and affirmed” on and off the sporting field.

Tennis Australia and Rugby Australia joined heads of AFL, hockey, netball, water polo, touch football and university sports to unveil the policies on Thursday.

Each sporting body developed the guidelines and policies unique to their sport for players at the community level.

Each code also sought guidance from Sport Australia and the Australian Human Rights Commission.

More than a dozen other sporting organisations have also pledged to develop and introduce similar frameworks for their sports.

Transgender people ‘much less likely’ to join sports teams

Research shows transgender and gender diverse people are much less likely to participate in sport.

This is due to fear of transphobic discrimination from other players, coaches and club officials.

Pride in Sport’s National Program Manager Beau Newell said the initiative is a “major moment in Australian sport”.

“These Australian sports have shown a true and tangible commitment to providing environments where everyone involved is treated with respect and dignity,” Newell said.

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“Sport has an amazing opportunity to provide a safe and inclusive environment to all people.

“[Australia] holds sport very close to our hearts and it also has a unique position to be able to help change attitudes of many Australians.”

To get more information about each sporting code’s policies, visit the Pride in Sport website here.

For the latest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) news in Australia, visit qnews.com.au. Check out our latest magazines or find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.