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New guidelines outline trans and gender diverse inclusion in sport

Copyrights: Flickr: J-No

New guidelines outline trans and gender diverse inclusion in sport

The timing of the release coincides with the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, 17 May.

Gender discrimination in sport is a complex topic which often sparks debate. Separating teams and competitions by gender can be problematic for athletes that identify as transgender or intersex, and those who simply do not wish to be placed in one category. Defenders of gender distinction often attribute it to biological differences. They view competition between only women and only men as a way to “level the playing field” and avoid unfair advantages based on physiology. However, many see fault with this practice, arguing that sex and gender are not binary: athletes should be judged based on their ability, regardless of gender.

One problem lies in a lack of education on the topic. The practice of differentiating athletes based on sex has become deeply engrained in sport, making it difficult to recognise biases and understand discriminatory behaviour. The Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission has released practical guidelines that take into account these potential biases and offer steps to make sure sport remains inclusive for all players. The guidelines are separated into three parts:

  1. Trans and gender diverse people and sport – understanding the issues
  2. Understanding the law
  3. What do I need to do?

These sections give an introduction to discrimination facing gender diverse athletes and provide resources to sporting clubs, organisations, and individual players to help them both understand their rights and make sport more inclusive. The guidelines also outline examples of discrimination and include a “best practice” section with examples such as:

  • Ensure forms and recruitment material do not contain information or categories that may indirectly discriminate  
  • Guarantee that people can use toilets, changing rooms and other facilities that are appropriate to their identified gender. Also ensure that people have the choice of wearing the uniform appropriate to their identified gender
  • Always ask if someone is comfortable discussing their gender identity or transition/affirmation
  • Be mindful of respectful communications and language between staff and players, as well as spectators where possible

You can download the complete guidelines here.


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Wednesday, May 17, 2017 - 17:09