On Thursday morning, representatives from eight leading national sporting organisations gathered at Sydney Cricket Ground to unveil a new national framework to better support and implement trans and gender diverse inclusion in sport.

As the first initiative of its kind anyway in the world, it’s a huge step forward for Australian sport, made possible by the advocacy of ACON who were driven by a recognised need for national guidance on how sports could be inclusive of trans and gender-diverse people. As Teddy Cook, ACON’s manager of trans and gender diverse equity explained;

“We know that trans athletes can be targeted on the unfounded basis that we affirm our gender to seek a competitive advantage in sport, but this is untrue and incredibly damaging to all – trans people and our cis allies.

“While many trans people across Australia are members of very inclusive sports clubs, many also report that joining a club is an intimidating and frightening experience.

“The commitment from these sports provides much needed guidance to the many clubs working hard to be the open and inclusive sport they want to be for all athletes, including those athletes who are trans.”

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 Among the big name players to sign up to the new national framework were the Australia Football League, Tennis Australia, and Rugby Australia. When we consider that trans and gender diverse adults are nearly 11 times more likely to attempt suicide than the general population – with 35% having attempted suicide in their lifetime – such progressive reform happening within organisations, particularly in sport, can only be seen as a positive.

Further, international research concludes that trans and gender diverse people are much less likely to participate in sport due to fear of transphobic discrimination from other players, coaches and club officials.

Lifeline CEO Colin Seery said, “At Lifeline, we are well aware of the detrimental impacts of isolation, rejection and discrimination – impacts that can be so devastating to mental wellbeing, they can lead to suicide.

“A sense of belonging is one of our most important human needs and sport provides a great opportunity for connecting with others. Today’s commitment by these national sporting organisations to make their sports more welcoming, inclusive and safe for all Australians is a positive step towards saving lives,”  

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 A number of other Australian federations, including golf, swimming and athletics, committed to emulating the other sports in producing their own inclusion frameworks.

Speaking at Thursday’s launch, ACON Vice-President and Co-Founder of Pride In Sport, Andrew Purchas (OAM) said, I congratulate all the NSOs that have made this landmark commitment in working towards a progressive and welcoming Australia, and encourage others to consider making their sports an inclusive place for all. We are proud of community sports clubs who continue to welcome and affirm their trans players, and to those who look forward to doing so in the near future.”

For more information on the guidelines, please visit prideinsport.com.au/trans

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