Hannah Mouncey, the transgender woman and football player who was denied from joining the AFLW draft, has written a powerful op-ed about the struggles she has undergone in the last year.
As Mouncey’s op-ed touches on, the questionable decision to ban her from the sport seemed based more in ignorance than in anything else: “Really, the question of whether trans people should be allowed to play sport shouldn’t need asking,” writes Mouncey. “I mean, why should people who aren’t trans be allowed to play sport? That’s about how much sense that question makes. Sport should be available to everyone.”
Mouncey reveals that she has been homeless throughout much of 2017, and has spent the last year suffering from mental health issues: “It’s hard to know where to start. Between November 2016 and March 2017 I found myself in hospital near enough to 20 times because of mental health issues. That’s basically once a week.”
Over the last few days, one of the most contentious topics has been that of Hannah Mouncey, a football player who hoped to be the AFLW’s first transgender athlete. Now, after much deliberation, Mouncey’s bid to do so has been knocked back by the AFL.
Hannah Mouncey broke into the national spotlight a few days ago when it was made clear that her nomination for the AFLW draft had been confirmed, though there was still debate as to whether or not she is actually eligible for the draft.
After having played a season for Ainslie Tricolours in the AFL Canberra’s women competition, Hannah’s desire to play in the AFLW has gained much attention due to the fact that this is not a situation the AFL had found themselves in before.
“I know I’m different and not necessarily in a good way or bad way, but I know I am going to be seen differently,” Mouncey had previously said in an interview with The Age.
The AFL had previously said they would make a decision as to Mouncey’s eligibility before the AFLW draft on Wednesday. Now, the AFL have indeed made a decision, but it’s sadly not in Mouncey’s favour.
According to a statement, the AFL have stated that the decision has been made based on an analysis of transgender strength, stamina, and physique, indicating that they believe that Mouncey would have an unfair advantage over her opponents.
As Fox Sports notes, the AFL, as with many other sporting bodies, do not currently have a policy relating to transgender athletes, which is why they were put into a decision where they had to make a specific decision.
The decision-making process included much consultation with a number of figures, including Hannah Mouncey, her management, the AFL Players’ Association, the Australian Sports Commission and Pride in Sport. Additionally, the AFL also adhered to guidelines set out by the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission.
Part of the decision was made based upon the AFLW being in its early stages, and Mouncey was told that this ruling relates only to this week’s draft, meaning that she will be able to nominate for future drafts, and for other competitions.
Tanya Hosch, who is in charge of the AFL’s inclusion and social policy, made a statement in regards to the decision, and how it would affect the future of the AFLW.
“Hannah’s passion for football is undeniable, and I want to thank her and her team for their constructive participation in the decision-making process,” she said. “It was important to involve the right stakeholders to review all the information and data available. Every case will be decided on its own merits along with the individual circumstances of each future nominee.”
“We acknowledge Hannah’s openness and co-operation. She has contributed to a process which will substantially inform the development of the AFL’s transgender policy and procedure for future players at the elite level.
“The AFL has made very strong commitments to equality and inclusion at all levels of the game. We recognise that participating in sport has physical, psychological and social benefits and we are committed to making Australian football on every level welcoming to all in our community.”