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World-First Commitment For Trans And Gender Diverse Inclusion In Sport

E
ight national sporting organisations (NSOs) have announced landmark commitments to implement governance supporting a greater level of inclusion for trans and gender diverse people in their sports.

The NSOs involved are the AFL, Hockey Australia, Netball Australia, Rugby Australia, Tennis Australia, Touch Football Australia, UniSport Australia, and Water Polo Australia.

The initiative was led by ACON’s Pride in Sport program, and also includes commitments from a number of NSOs to develop trans and gender diverse inclusion frameworks for their sports, including Athletics Australia, Australian Dragon Boating Federation, Bowls Australia, Diving Australia, Football Federation Australia, Golf Australia, Gymnastics Australia, Judo Australia, Softball Australia, Squash Australia, Surf Life Saving Australia, Swimming Australia, and Triathlon Australia.

Pride in Sport national program manager, Beau Newell, said the joint commitment 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,” he said.

ACON vice-president and co-founder of Pride in Sport, Andrew Purchas, said the initiative is a world-first for sport.

“I congratulate all the NSOs that have made this landmark commitment in working towards a progressive and welcoming Australia and encourage others to consider making their sports an inclusive place for all,” Purchas said.

“We are proud of community sports clubs who continue to welcome and affirm their trans players, and to those who look forward to doing so in the near future,” he said.

Australia sex discrimination commissioner, Kate Jenkins, welcomed the release of the policies by the NSOs.

“Participation in sport is a human right, and everyone has the right to feel welcome to play,” Jenkins said.

“The release of policies such as this are an important step in promoting inclusivity and diversity in sport, and ensuring the rights of all players are respected, and I commend all the national sporting organisations who have announced these policies today,” she said.

AFL CEO, Gillon McLachlan, said: “we know that inclusion and belonging delivers real social benefits for individuals and communities, and we want to send a message that all are welcome in our game.

“We are pleased to collaborate with all the major sporting organisations of Australia in taking this important practical and symbolic step towards improved inclusion in sport and the community more generally,” he said.

Netball Australia CEO, Marne Fechner, said the policy speaks to sport’s commitment to providing welcoming and inclusive places for all people to play.

“It’s our role as leaders to provide an environment where transgender and gender diverse people feel welcome to participate in our great game, while also taking into account athlete safety and protecting the integrity of the sport,” Fechner said.

“We continue to work hard to ensure netball is a sport for all.

“We feel proud to release our policy as a part of the Pride In Sport announcement today, alongside a number of other national sporting organisations.

“Policies and guidelines such as these continue to improve inclusion and diversity standards across Australian sport,” she said.

Hockey Australia (HA) CEO, Matt Favier, also said this commitment from HA is just the latest in a long history of inclusive practices.

“Hockey has always been proud of its inclusive nature, and we have a celebrated history of diversity and inclusion,” Favier said.

“Inclusion is one of Hockey Australia’s values and we are proud to be demonstrating our commitment to it.

“Hockey Australia welcomes everybody, exactly as they are.

“The release of these guidelines is a relatively small gesture from the sport, but one that we know is so significant for the people it will impact.

“It is wonderful to see a truly whole of sport commitment to the inclusion of the trans and gender diverse community.

“Sport can bring people together like few things in society.

“The collective message sport is sending today is a powerful one.

“Hockey Australia is proud to be standing side by side with this group of national sporting organisations to let trans and gender diverse people know they are welcome in our codes.

“We thank Pride in Sport for their support and guidance through the development of these guidelines,” he said.

Cricket Australia have also committed to supporting other NSOs throughout the process, after launching their own trans and gender diverse inclusion governance in 2019.