Please stop dehumanising Hannah Mouncey

Matt Watson Roar Rookie

By Matt Watson, Matt Watson is a Roar Rookie New author!

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49 Have your say

    This is not an article about if Hannah Mouncey should be allowed to play AFLW or if transgender athletes have an unfair advantage over those they’re competing against. I’m not going to go anywhere near that argument.

    What I am going to go near is the sickening treatment of Mouncey, of which the AFL has to take some responsibility.

    The news that Mouncey has been granted permission to play in local women’s leagues in 2018 was a hot topic across social media when announced on Tuesday.

    However, while much of the talk could and should have been respectful – and debate fits well within that realm – many comments showed the ignorance that transgender people such as Hannah are confronted with daily:

    “This thing [Mouncey] should be in a mental hospital.”

    “Lol if it [Mouncey] commits a crime and gets locked up. Does it go to a mens prison or a womans prison?”

    “It looks like a clown. Political correctness gone mad.”

    That anyone believes they can refer to Mouncey as ‘it’ shows how uneducated much of the nation remains when it comes to attitudes towards transgender people.

    The AFL must absorb some of the blame for this. Their weak position on this topic to date has allowed this narrative of hatred to gestate, particularly among some football fans.

    It’s time they took their responsibility as a prominent voice on this issue seriously and become an inclusive, positive influence that helps stamp out this hate.

    And to those spouting hate, please remember that Hannah is a human being first and foremost and what you say has the power to truly hurt. Think of what your spiteful words are causing to the whole trans community and to Hannah herself.

    What you say can have consequences, so if you have nothing nice to say then say nothing at all, and let Hannah live her life. Also, never use the word ‘it’ to describe someone, that’s disgusting, degrading and dehumanising.

    Finally, I would like to wish Hannah and all other transgender AFL players out there the best of luck for this season.

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    The Crowd Says (49)

    • February 15th 2018 @ 3:32am
      MH01 said | February 15th 2018 @ 3:32am | ! Report

      Truth is, this applies to anyone.You don’t have to be a Hannah to have to deal with small minded bullies, its not a transgender issue, its discrimination, be it colour, sex, politics, religion etc.

      • February 15th 2018 @ 9:33am
        Kangajets said | February 15th 2018 @ 9:33am | ! Report

        Agree

      • February 15th 2018 @ 12:37pm
        Pope Paul VII said | February 15th 2018 @ 12:37pm | ! Report

        Good point MH01. Reminds me of the abuse Adam Goodes received.

        • February 15th 2018 @ 4:21pm
          Connolly said | February 15th 2018 @ 4:21pm | ! Report

          Yes, the AFL played the same weak role. They let the bigots to run riot unchallenged. All the best to Hannah in the future.

    • Roar Pro

      February 15th 2018 @ 4:05am
      anon said | February 15th 2018 @ 4:05am | ! Report

      I hope this post is allowed because I don’t believe I have said anything to warrant my view to be censored.

      Mouncey seems like a nice enough person who just wants to play footy.

      It’s just an issue of fairness with me. What gender or sexual orientation someone chooses to be is really uninteresting to me. Has no impact on my life. It’s just someone’s preference/choice. It’s not something that helps/hinders humanity in any way.

      For all intents her bone structure is male, she’s well over 6 feet, 95kg, and she chose to be female.

      Genetic female who are 5’5″ and 50kg didn’t choose to be 50kg females. The least we can do is give them a level playing field to compete against each other since they can’t exactly compete against males on the footy field.

      It’s the same reason we have under 10’s, under 12’s, under 14’s, etc. It’s about fairness.

      • Roar Guru

        February 15th 2018 @ 8:17am
        AdelaideDocker said | February 15th 2018 @ 8:17am | ! Report

        “What gender or sexual orientation someone chooses to be is really uninteresting to me. Has no impact on my life. It’s just someone’s preference/choice. It’s not something that helps/hinders humanity in any way.”

        That’s honestly the best possible sentence in this situation; great summary.

        • February 15th 2018 @ 8:59am
          Neil from Warrandyte said | February 15th 2018 @ 8:59am | ! Report

          Don’t know enough about gender choice to comment, but you don’t choose your sexual orientation, just as you don’t choose to be left or right handed.

          • Roar Guru

            February 15th 2018 @ 9:25am
            Cat said | February 15th 2018 @ 9:25am | ! Report

            Being transgendered is no more a choice than sexuality or ‘handedness’.

            • Roar Guru

              February 15th 2018 @ 10:03am
              Rick Disnick said | February 15th 2018 @ 10:03am | ! Report

              True, but one of those takes significant medical intervention at great cost.

              Nothing is ‘free’ in this world.

              • February 15th 2018 @ 10:23am
                Griffo said | February 15th 2018 @ 10:23am | ! Report

                No, because gender is a social construct. Perhaps it changes and perhaps you can change it by altering your name, the way you dress and the way you behave. Sex, on the other hand, is not a social construct. It’s biological and you can’t change it; you can only alter it with ‘significant medical intervention at great cost’.
                Sorry if it seems pedantic but I don’t like how people seem to use sex and gender as if they are interchangeable when they’re not.

              • Roar Guru

                February 15th 2018 @ 12:04pm
                Rick Disnick said | February 15th 2018 @ 12:04pm | ! Report

                Don’t be sorry. I like pedantic people.

                My comment should have been more specific to Hannah, not transgenders in general.

                In this instance, there has been a great expense in Hannah’s transition from man to woman requiring significant medical intervention.

                Now although I have no issue with this, some people do.

      • Roar Guru

        February 15th 2018 @ 10:50am
        Paul D said | February 15th 2018 @ 10:50am | ! Report

        Usually I’m a flag carrier for progressive causes but I must agree – this is a bridge too far for me – by all means change gender, but don’t assume you have some god given right to flout your inherent physical gifts over your new friends.

        The main reason I object is that she’s impacting on other’s enjoyment and careers, in a physical manner. I’m not a subscriber to emotional distress, harden up or go home, but physics is not something you can circumvent with intense social therapy.

        Does she have to be on the football field? Take up mountain climbing or something. Or winter Olympics, or a sport where it’s a solo contest of grading, as opposed to a direct physical contest.

        Any article based on social media gripes is a poor basis for an article, but I tell you now as long as this goes on there will always be people who will feel revulsion seeing Hannah crash into another lady on a footy field, that’s inherent and genetic as well – and it’s selfish in the extreme to insist people undo thousands of years of genetic conditioning in response to science upending the rulebook in the last decade or so.

        • February 15th 2018 @ 11:52am
          RandyM said | February 15th 2018 @ 11:52am | ! Report

          Great response. Agree completely.

      • February 15th 2018 @ 2:19pm
        Claire said | February 15th 2018 @ 2:19pm | ! Report

        I am transgender and an athlete. Here’s three things I want to share with you:

        1. The ways we frame gender identity are important. People don’t choose their gender identity. It’s innate. And inalienable. The growing consensus at the moment is that it is caused by fetal exposure of the brain to hormonal imbalances in utero during the second trimester. Lab researchers have been able to adjust hormonal levels in the womb of lab mice and cause them to exhibit lifelong behaviours of a mouse of the opposite sex. You don’t ‘choose’ your gender identity any more than you choose your sexuality.

        2. Trans people want sport to be fair for everyone too, and we do need to have these debates. I am a distance runner. Competing in the men’s division, I was placing in the top 8% at city majors. Despite training harder than ever, my body changed with several years of hormones. My lean muscle mass halved, my body fat percentage lifted, my blood composition altered, even my mental focus changed. When I finally switched to the women’s division, I never placed higher than the top 13th percentile. Yet immediately, I was accused of cheating, was spat on, and abused.

        The IOC, the CAS, IAAF, and several other sports organisations have spent years studying this stuff. CAS has a four hundred page medical research paper you can read. It was authored by the world’s best professors in sports physiology, endocrinology, and biologists. The general consensus is that after 12 months with a serum testosterone level below 10 nmol, any gender based advantage is negligable. We would all welcome more search into the matter, and I’m sure we want the rules to reflect fairness. But right now, the sports science suggests that 12 months is the balance. If you’ve got access to some better quality research, then great, let’s have a look and see if it supports your conclusions. But please bear in mind that the definition of ‘prejudice’ is when you oppose another person’s basic right or dignity for no jusrifiable reason.

        3. If you think height is a cause of unfair advantage, then can you please advise what is the upper height limit we restrict female athletes to? There are two other players in AFLW who are taller than Hannah – will you be telling them that they can’t play because of their height? Why about intersex athletes like Castar Semaya? Are they banned from participating in sport too?

        • Roar Pro

          February 15th 2018 @ 5:30pm
          anon said | February 15th 2018 @ 5:30pm | ! Report

          1. The ways we frame gender identity are important. People don’t choose their gender identity. It’s innate. And inalienable. The growing consensus at the moment is that it is caused by fetal exposure of the brain to hormonal imbalances in utero during the second trimester. Lab researchers have been able to adjust hormonal levels in the womb of lab mice and cause them to exhibit lifelong behaviours of a mouse of the opposite sex. You don’t ‘choose’ your gender identity any more than you choose your sexuality.

          I didn’t choose to be male. If tomorrow I decided to identify as a female then that’s 100% my choice.

          I think people are suggestible and predisposed due to environment. A lot of men engage in homosexual sex in prison despite never previously being homosexual.

          2. Trans people want sport to be fair for everyone too, and we do need to have these debates. I am a distance runner. Competing in the men’s division, I was placing in the top 8% at city majors. Despite training harder than ever, my body changed with several years of hormones. My lean muscle mass halved, my body fat percentage lifted, my blood composition altered, even my mental focus changed. When I finally switched to the women’s division, I never placed higher than the top 13th percentile. Yet immediately, I was accused of cheating, was spat on, and abused.

          No-one should have to suffer through that. Very unfortunate.

          3. If you think height is a cause of unfair advantage, then can you please advise what is the upper height limit we restrict female athletes to? There are two other players in AFLW who are taller than Hannah – will you be telling them that they can’t play because of their height? Why about intersex athletes like Castar Semaya? Are they banned from participating in sport too?

          Usually there’s some kind of offset to being tall like Sandilands — you can’t run, can’t kick properly.

          Perkins is a massive unit for Adelaide. Sure she’s heavy, but she’s heavy because she’s overweight. That poor mobility, poor cardio.

          Mouncey is the same height and weight of Wayne Carey and was a male until recently. She’s the optimum size for a male football. For a female footballer she’s basically the LeBron James of AFLW.

          It’s unfair to genetic females who have hope of ever attaining that body size naturally.

        • February 15th 2018 @ 8:42pm
          Cam said | February 15th 2018 @ 8:42pm | ! Report

          I wish I could “like” you post. I agree with everything you said except for the Castar Semaya comment. Yes, the IOC, CAS and IAAF has done analysis and testing and Hannah meets their requirements so she should be able to play. But I think you will find that Castar’s testosterone level is much higher than that which you quoted in your comment of 10 nmol so while I think Hannah should be able to play I think that Castar should not without treatment to lower her testosterone.

    • February 15th 2018 @ 6:44am
      AR said | February 15th 2018 @ 6:44am | ! Report

      Hang on…this article “quotes” 3 random internet posts (all quite nasty and juvenile)…doesn’t say what website or platform they’re from, doesn’t credit an author or even a avatar name, and then declares the AFL is to blame.

      By all means discuss the issue – it’s a complex one – but randomly selecting 3 tidbits from the internet and then drawing conclusions from those tidbits is ridiculous, not to mention potentially encouraging for more nasty and juvenile comments.

      The Roar should be better than this.

      • February 15th 2018 @ 9:44am
        peeko said | February 15th 2018 @ 9:44am | ! Report

        Well said AR. one doesn’t need to look far on twitter to find some really despicable and nasty people. to use them and them blame the AFL is pretty poor attempt at an article

        • February 15th 2018 @ 10:19am
          AD said | February 15th 2018 @ 10:19am | ! Report

          Exactly. Twitter (and social media in general) is a cesspool and should never be used as a guide to society’s thoughts on anything – you just get the loudest, most extreme, most unpleasant viewpoints from both sides dominating any debate. If you go wandering through Twitter or Facebook or whatever, you’ll be able to find any number of appalling comments about pretty much ANY person or group, regardless of their gender, race, religion, nationality, politics or anything else.

          Additionally, blaming the AFL for those random internet comments is laughable. Does anybody seriously think that even if the AFL had welcomed Hannah with open arms from day 1 that it really would have made any difference? Does anybody really think the social media trolls would have seen that and thought “well, gee, if the AFL is all for it then I guess I will be too, and I won’t post those unpleasant comments”?

          I really think this article drastically overestimates how much influence an organisation like the AFL has on broader social issues. Not many people look to the administrators of sporting competitions for moral guidance. Did the same-sex marriage debate become any more civil when the AFL took a public position on the issue? No. And would the outcome have been any different if the AFL had remained silent? Unlikely. Unpleasant people are going to continue to have unpleasant opinions, and the unfortunate fact is that social media provides a platform for (and, amplifies) those opinions. If you want to find an organisation to blame for this situation, you need to be looking at the likes of Facebook and Twitter before the AFL.

      • Roar Guru

        February 15th 2018 @ 10:00am
        Rick Disnick said | February 15th 2018 @ 10:00am | ! Report

        I agree. This type of article will only act as a platform for those wishing to cause more harm than good.

        My advice: a more focussed argument (rather than a rant at the AFL) would generate a better discussion from the proactive few on this site.

      • February 15th 2018 @ 11:27am
        Jack Russell said | February 15th 2018 @ 11:27am | ! Report

        Yep, this is the sort of rubbish you’d find on buzzfeed. You can find anything on the internet to suit your narrative, and even if you can’t you can simply make it up.

        • February 15th 2018 @ 12:26pm
          jeff dustby said | February 15th 2018 @ 12:26pm | ! Report

          happens far too often Jack

    • February 15th 2018 @ 7:21am
      JustAnotherVoiceOnTheInternet said | February 15th 2018 @ 7:21am | ! Report

      No doubt there have been some disgusting things said and written, but as someone points out above you can find that about any issue. The fact is behind screens people’s hatred and confidence seems to mutate.

      In saying that however, I do think a lot of it is general anger at the complete absurdity of the situation. Hannah wasn’t just born a male and physically developed as one, he still has male genitals! This shouldn’t even be a debate. How on earth is there even an argument for whether somebody born a male, grown up a male, and still having male genitalia can play in a female sporting competition!?

      Hannah can identify as whoever he likes, and has my sympathy for their situation, but come on, are we seriously so far off the path with our heads in the clouds in 2018 that we can’t call a spade a spade anymore? Live the life you want as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone – Hannah playing female footy does and will.

      • Roar Guru

        February 15th 2018 @ 2:32pm
        JamesH said | February 15th 2018 @ 2:32pm | ! Report

        The author isn’t arguing this issue (and makes clear his intention not to), so I’m not sure why you and others are even raising it here. But I’ll bite.

        Your argument misses a few key points:

        – What’s between Hannah’s legs has absolutely no impact on what she can do on a footy field. The key issue in terms of fairness when it comes to men vs women is testosterone, which (among other things) regulates muscle mass, bone density and fat metabolism. Hannah’s testosterone level has been much lower than that of an average woman for some time now, resulting in significantly decreased muscle mass, bone density and metabolism. As a consequence, her power-to-weight ratio is poor, it’s harder for her to maintain fitness and she is physically much weaker and slower than she was before the hormone therapy.

        – Given that there are a couple of players of comparable height in the AFLW, literally the only unfair attribute she could have is her weight. This was what the AFL relied upon to refuse her entry into the AFLW. The problem with this argument is twofold. (a) She has been playing local footy for a few seasons now, against amateur women that presumably aren’t as physically powerful as those in the AFLW, and hasn’t posed a danger to them or displayed any unfair advantage. (b) One day a 90+ kg woman is going to be drafted into the AFLW and then this particular issue just goes out the window.

        (As an aside, Aaron Sandilands is the heaviest AFL player at 118kg. At a glance, the median player weight in the AFL appears to be somewhere in the mid-high 80s. That makes Sandilands just over 30kg, or somewhere around 38%, heavier than the median AFL player. If the median weight of an AFLW footballer is in the high 60s – which probably isn’t far off, all things considered – then Mouncey’s weight is proportionally quite similar.)

        – Mouncey comfortably satisfies IOC criteria to compete in the Olympics as a woman.

        – What you find absurd, or what you don’t understand, is entirely subjective.

        • Roar Guru

          February 15th 2018 @ 5:25pm
          Cat said | February 15th 2018 @ 5:25pm | ! Report

          Quite simply the best post on this subject across multiple articles. Well articulated.

          • Roar Guru

            February 15th 2018 @ 5:40pm
            Paul D said | February 15th 2018 @ 5:40pm | ! Report

            It is a good argument, but like all emotive issues, the science long ago stopped being the relevant factor.

            The fact they’ve let her play in a non-televised competition without any real qualms I think is the main illustration of what the argument was about. It’s all about perception.

            I think in this instance the legalities are outpacing society. As others have said, a lot of people aren’t ready to see someone who identifies as a woman but looks like a bloke crashing into women who identify and look like women. That’s the commercial reality of it.

            What if Hannah isn’t the only guy? What if AFLW clubs all go out and start recruiting a large trans woman specifically for their unnatural physical advantages and height – again, much as they have done in shaking some of these 7 footers out of the American college system.

            Society can handle Aaron Sandilands crashing into Caleb Daniel, or ironing out Phil Davis. But if you can’t even acknowledge the perception problems of having Hannah crash into other ladies, and focus purely on a non-emotive scientific argument, I think you’re being disingenuous and run the risk of being labelled high-handed or cavalier in trying to force this issue through.

            Inherent physical differences means that a woman would never be able to compete in an elite men’s competition, certainly not on level pegging. But if it starts going the other way, and Hannah is just the first of a few, you have to start wondering what was the point in setting up a competition for women if it’s just turning into a second chance saloon for recycled blokes with gender dysmorphia. I mean it’s not exactly pitching to the mainstream grassroots, is it.

    • Roar Guru

      February 15th 2018 @ 8:09am
      Redb said | February 15th 2018 @ 8:09am | ! Report

      Nothing wrong with being respectful no matter which position you take.

      I can see both sides of the argument but really can’t decide the right path forward. Probably lean towards not allowing Mouncey to play in a women’s comp due to physical size advantage and the precedent it could set as more people change gender as this opens up all sorts of possibilities.

    • February 15th 2018 @ 8:45am
      Oingo Boingo said | February 15th 2018 @ 8:45am | ! Report

      What a joke this whole situation has become , when an attention seeking MAN”s rights are held over and above the rights of every biological woman wanting to play AFL ….What a repulsive minority pleasing organisation the AFL has become , I hope as a consequence they get sued for millions .

      • February 15th 2018 @ 9:44am
        Oingo Boingo said | February 15th 2018 @ 9:44am | ! Report

        I should have added “politicised “.organisation.

        • February 15th 2018 @ 11:26am
          Aligee said | February 15th 2018 @ 11:26am | ! Report

          To be fair they would be lambasted either way, but bowing to what they perceive as the mainstream is way of base, middle Australia would IMO not be happy letting their daughter play against Hannah Mouncey, the AFL pride themselves on being at the forefront of the social type issues – may have come back to bite them

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