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Trans footballer Hannah Mouncey ‘received 500 death threats’ for wanting to play in women’s league

Claire Toureille May 17, 2018

Australian trans footballer Hannah Mouncey is using the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOBIT) to speak up about the transphobia she’s received in the world of football.

Mouncey, who used to be a handball player before she transitioned, was nominated to be drafted to a team in the AFLW — the Australian rules football league for women — in 2017.

However, the decision was reversed only one day prior to the draft. Mouncey says she had been assured she’d be allowed to play in the league and would be selected by at least one club, but the reversal left her jobless and “without a place to live.”

Mouncey was eventually picked up by the Darebin Falcons club in the rival Victorian Women’s Football League (VWFL), but she says she experienced a whirlwind of abuse for being a trans woman potentially entering the AFLW.

Mouncey joined the Darebin Falcons earlier this year. (@HannahMouncey/Twitter)

The footballer told Australia’s Fox Footy she received more than 500 death threats to her personal email address, following the AFLW debacle. She also received abuse and insults on her Facebook and Twitter pages.

“Before then, no one really knew who I was,” she said.

In an opinion piece for The Guardian on IDAHOBIT on Thursday, Mouncey said that the treatment she’s received has given her an understanding of the problems faced by the wider trans community.

“Those commenting on trans people and their place in society […]  really need to be careful about the potential impact this has, as well as ensuring that what they have to say is informed,” she wrote.

“Every negative comment in the media, whether directed towards a specific person or not, is incredibly harmful to the entire trans community,” she added, pointing out the damaging message it sent to trans kids.

“They largely don’t have the ability to recognise who is or isn’t worth listening too; instead they take it all in like a sponge and absorb every negative comment they might come across.”

Mouncey playing for the Falcons during an early match. (@hannahmouncey/Instagram)

Reflecting on the negative comments she received after the AFLW draft seven months ago, Mouncey said that while she could summarise most of them as “trans women shouldn’t play football, they’re not female enough,” she fears young trans people would hear “trans people don’t belong in normal society.”

Mouncey also pointed out recent statistics showing 80 percent of young trans people have self-harmed and 48 percent attempted suicide at some point in their lives.

In early May, Mouncey reflected on how welcoming her new club, the Darebin Falcons, had been to her, and how the AFLW draft had alienated her from football.

“I couldn’t comprehend the amount of hatred that came my way and the abuse online,” she wrote for PlayersVoice.

“When you hear so many people talking absolute rubbish about a situation they know nothing about, you eventually get pretty bloody sick of it.

“You’re being attacked just for the sake of it.”

However, Mouncey seemed to have find a home in her new Melbourne club.

“I have to say I couldn’t have landed at a better club.”

More: Australia

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