Transgender footballer Hannah Mouncey is planning legal action against the AFL and its Gender Diversity Policy in an attempt to play top-level local footy in Canberra.
Mouncey was not allowed to enter the AFLW draft in 2017, but was permitted to play at VFLW level. She now says she has no desire to play at AFLW level and is seeking to play at first-grade level in the ACT.
On Friday night, Mouncey confirmed she will begin legal proceedings – unless the issue can be resolved – based on her concerns around the AFL’s new policy revealed last October.
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The three requirements in the new policy 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.
However Mouncey argued the process for submitting information to the AFL was not transparent and asked for more details around the policies, including questioning how the AFL Gender Diversity Policy Committee – which is to be used to resolve disputes – would be staffed and work.
She explained in a tweet she is currently allowed to play AFL Canberra Second Grade, but it would be unfair for other players if an AFLW or VFLW-level player was at that level.
“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,” she wrote.
“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.
“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.”
Mouncey also said the AFL had been told by the LGBTQI+ community that the draft version of the new AFL policies were “discriminatory and more about exclusion than inclusion, were not fit for purpose and in many ways offensive – that they would drive potential trans and gender diverse players away from the game”.
She also made an impassioned plea for more support for transgender people and their rights.
“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,” Mouncey wrote.
“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.”
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