CANBERRA sports clubs are being encouraged to welcome gender diverse people, including trans and intersex players.

The ACT Human Rights Commission’s new guidelines have been established to assist organisations with gender issues, saying a growing number of people are neither male nor female.

“This reality poses some challenges in an environment where there are often sound reasons for running separate men’s and women’s competitions and events,” it says.

“The answers are not always going to be straightforward or easy to work out, but anecdotal evidence shows that more and more sporting bodies are already being asked to respond to these issues.”

The guide recommends sporting clubs develop or update their policies on diversity, discrimination, complaints, and disciplinary processes. It says people should be able to use the change rooms and facilities appropriate to their gender.

Discrimination commissioner Karen Toohey said that rather than enforcing a legalistic approach, the guidelines are intended to begin a conversation and provide support.

“We’re focusing on how we can build people’s capacity to provide safe and inclusive sporting environments,” she said.

“What’s really important is that people in our community feel engaged and feel they can participate without having to answer a whole bunch of questions that are completely irrelevant to the sport they want to play.”

Toohey said the commission is distributing the guidelines and implementation will include direct engagement and training for schools and clubs.

“What we’re saying is, let’s talk about it,” she said.

“Let’s not hope it’s a problem that just goes away and someone else has to deal with it.”

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