Authorities have blocked the first transgender Aussie Rules player from being drafted
Hannah Mouncey, who would have been the first transgender player to be recruited by a professional Aussie Rules team, has been blocked from the draft.
Mouncey was nominated to play in the Australian Women’s Football League just days ago.
But the AFLW has ruled her ineligible, due to the supposed advantage her physical strength and stamina would have given her over opponents.
The AFL released a statement saying it was guided by Victoria state’s equal opportunity legislation.
The law provides an exception allowing discrimination on the basis of gender identity if “strength, stamina or physique is relevant”.
“The subcommittee’s decision took into account the stage of maturity of the AFLW competition, its current player cohort and Ms Mouncey’s individual circumstances,” the AFL said.
“We acknowledge Hannah’s openness and cooperation,” AFL manager for inclusion and social policy Tanya Hosch added.
“She has contributed to a process which will substantially inform the development of the AFL’s transgender policy and procedure for future players at the elite level.”
Several clubs had reportedly shown interest in drafting Mouncey, who stands at 190cm (6’2″) and weighs 100kg (220 pounds).
Mouncey said she was “extremely disappointed” with the decision.
But on Twitter, she was reticent to give her take on the situation.
“At the moment I am not in a position to make any comment surrounding my availability for the draft and will not be doing any interviews or making comment on the situation.
“Anyone with other requests can contact vivid sports management”.
The next day, she was uniformly positive, saying: Good luck to all the girls who nominated for the AFLW draft tomorrow, especially my mates from Canberra.
“I can’t wait to see you all at the highest level and to play with and against you back in Canberra next year!”
In a statement, she said: “While I am extremely disappointed with the AFL’s decision regarding my participation in Wednesday’s AFLW draft, I thank them for the genuine way in which they approached my situation.
“Despite not being able to take part in the draft, the AFL has given me the all clear to play for Ainslie next year in the AFL Canberra competition for which I am very grateful and look forward to doing in 2018, before hopefully being able to nominate for next year’s draft”.
The AFL Players Association accused the AFL of lacking “clear guidelines” for transgender players.
A statement released by AFLPA general manager of player relations said: “No athlete should face such confusion around their eligibility for an elite competition just days out from a draft.
“We have urged the AFL to prioritise the development of guidelines detailing the process and parameters for entry into the AFLW competition, so that Hannah and any other players have a clear understanding of their eligibility.”