AFL clears Hannah Mouncey for local leagues

By Roger Vaughan,

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    Transgender footballer Hannah Mouncey has hit out at the AFL over its handling of her issue, calling it a circus that could have been avoided.

    On Tuesday, the AFL announced Mouncey could play in local women’s leagues as its gender diversity policy is finalised.

    The AFL had blocked Mouncey from entering last year’s AFLW draft after she had played for Ainslie in the ACT women’s league.

    She now wants to play in Victoria against the state’s top AFLW talent.

    “So after all that; guess who’s allowed to play football after all,” Mouncey said in a tweet.

    Mouncey then issued a lengthy statement, where she welcomed the AFL decision and said she looks forward to hopefully playing this season.

    “While I wholeheartedly thank those who supported me through this time, I will not and I think it would be inappropriate for me to thank the AFL for allowing me to do something open to every other Australian,” Mouncey said.

    “The science and research has supported (this decision) all along.

    “Had we simply gone by the research at the start, we could have avoided the whole saga that has taken place completely.

    “I am however grateful that they took the time to look at this situation properly, as it is complex.”

    She added the line of questioning and “circus” around her issue over the last four months has highlighted a lack of understanding around the science of gender transition, which Mouncey understands.

    “But more importantly and worryingly, it showed a disturbing willingness by those who don’t understand it to dismiss research and evidence,” she said.

    Mouncey called for more health support for people going through gender transition, plus their family and friends.

    She also feels that the issue became much more than her bid to play in an AFL women’s competition.

    “Yes, the AFL may prefer that I did not exist or chose to go and do something else, but that it is not how it is and we are not people to be ignored in the hope that will happen,” Mouncey said.

    Mouncey played men’s handball for Australia before starting her gender transition.

    The AFL said on Tuesday that the decision to not let Mouncey enter the draft only applied to last year.

    “Eligibility decisions are generally made by state and local leagues in accordance with the rules and policies of the relevant football body,” the AFL said in a statement.

    “However, the AFL strongly encourages all Australian football competitions to adopt the AFL’s recommendation to facilitate the inclusion of trans players at the community level until the AFL’s gender diversity policy is finalised.”

    The AFL said it is seeking advice from the Australian Sports Commission and the Australian Human Rights Commission on the issue.

    © AAP 2018

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    The Crowd Says (2)

    • February 13th 2018 @ 9:26pm
      Marshall said | February 13th 2018 @ 9:26pm | ! Report

      Tough one. Feel for Hannah she obviously wants to play footy and I support her journey and transition to be her true self.

      In saying that, my personal view is that the considerable amount of time spent living as a man has given her a frame in height/muscle that is more developed than any other AFLW player – question is – is this fair?

      As I said tough one, not really fair either way but AFL have made a call. I’m sure people would be unhappy either way.

    • Roar Guru

      February 13th 2018 @ 9:51pm
      mds1970 said | February 13th 2018 @ 9:51pm | ! Report

      It’s a no-win situation for the AFL. If they don’t let her play it’s discrimination. If they let her play and someone gets hurt it’s reckless negligence. Either way, once she asked to play, the AFL is f-ed.
      I would have said no. Yes, it’s the risk-averse option. But this is someone who was an elite male athlete only a couple of years ago and has lived most of her life as a muscular sporty man.
      Whatever her testosterone levels, it fails the smell test. The safety and competitiveness of the natural women has to come first.

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