Transgender athlete, Hannah Mouncey, is threatening to sue the Australian Football League's governing body for her right to play in the women's division.
Here's the full story...
The argument surrounding transgender athletes has been debated for quite some time now...
Because ever since the Olympics allowed trans athletes to compete in 2016, there has been a solid divide in opinion over the matter.
While many are supportive of the inclusion of transgender athletes...
It is often slammed for being unfair towards other athletes competing in the sport.
The subject of transgender female athletes is certainly the most debated...
Hi Daniel, you can abuse me all you like but facts matter. a) I support fairness & equality for all trans people.… https://t.co/Fmvdi7R06E— Piers Morgan (@Piers Morgan)1602942087.0
With people like Piers Morgan arguing that female trans athletes have an "unfair advantage" due to the fact they were born with a male anatomy, consisting of testosterone and other male hormones that increase strength and stamina.
It has been argued that their competitors don't "stand a chance"...
@DrJamesKent3 I know this won't be popular but athletes born female cannot possibly compete on a level playing fiel… https://t.co/MszM5flS06— Emma Louisa J 🇬🇧❤️ (@Emma Louisa J 🇬🇧❤️)1582758673.0
And there's a high number of people out there who feel transgender athletes shouldn't be allowed to compete because of this thought.
For instance, professional MMA fighter Ronda Rousey refused to fight trans fighter Fallon Fox in 2014.
"I feel like if you go through puberty as a man it's something that you can't really reverse. You can't just reverse that, there's no undo button on that. That's, unfortunately, her scenario," she said of her decision.
And New Zealand transgender weightlifter, Laurel Hubbard, faced a lot of criticism after she won a gold medal at the Pacific Games.
New Zealand-based lobby group, "Speak Up For Women," which advocates that sport must be categorized by sex rather than gender identity, called on the country's Olympic committee and sports minister to "defend women's sport."
"Kiwis (New Zealanders) know that males competing in women's sport is blatantly unfair," the group's spokesperson Ani O'Brien harshly said.
Nevertheless, transgender athletes are allowed to compete here in the United States...
And transgender girls are now allowed to participate in sports that match their gender identity at schools and colleges across the country.
But over in Australia...
The laws surrounding the right for trans people to participate in sports haven't been so lenient.
Now, Hannah Mouncey is a transgender woman who is an Australian Football League (AFL) athlete.
Hailing from Sydney, she has had a very long career in sports - in particular handball and AFL Women's.
Mouncey represented Australia in men's handball before transitioning...
And just like many other female trans athletes, she has been the subject of controversy over her eligibility to participate in women's competitions since her gender transition in 2015.
Mouncey is threatening to sue the AFL's governing body after it laid down some pretty career-destroying regulations for her... and people have a lot to say about it.
Mouncey was prevented from entering the AFLW draft back in 2017 due to her "strength, stamina, and physique," according to News Corp.
She has since tried to break into the ACT's (Australian Capital Territory) highest female competition, however, she is facing an uphill battle.
The AFL outlined a new gender diversity policy last year that required transgender players to agree and adhere to several principles before being granted the right to play.
It stated that testosterone levels have to have been at or below 5 nmol/L for at least 2 years prior.
Players who can reach that level can nominate for the AFLW Draft or apply to play in other elite competitions once they submit fitness tests and once that application is approved, the player must maintain their total testosterone levels below 5 nmol/L.
Hannah has raised some concerns about the policy and the way it works on a state vs. federal basis, how the tests are carried out, and highlighted issues with transparency.
She has recently said, as per SportsBible, calls for meetings to discuss those issues have fallen on deaf ears and has indicated she is prepared to take legal action to sort it out.
In a lengthy statement on Twitter, Hannah wrote:
"This is not a step I take lightly and not one which I have had any desire to take if it could be avoided, however I believe at this point I have no other option if I want to play football in the AFL Canberra First Grade Competition in 2021."
She then said, "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; 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 emphasize 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," she continued, "This is not a step I take just because being able to play football is important to me, but it is because for too long the trans community has been on the fringes of society and marginalized.
"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."
"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."
Mouncey said she will probably have to play in the B-grade competition if these matters aren't resolved as the AFLW gender policy doesn't govern that level.
You can read her full statement above.
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