Transgender Discrimination AFL Lawsuit

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Bjchan13

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Jul 23, 2018
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We do have one, but according to Foxsports the LGBTQI+ community told the AFL that their new policies were "discriminatory and more about exclusion than inclusion, were not fit for purpose and in many ways offensive - that they would drive potential trans and gender diverse players away from the game".

It was a bit unfortunate that the first trans woman who wanted to play AFLW was on the large side and had a history of competing in competitive sports, now we have every Neanderthal who has become an expert in biology giving their well informed opinions on something that will negatively impact a lot of trans athletes that are nowhere near the same size or strength as Mouncey.

I think it is fine if the AFL do not want trans women playing in the AFLW, they should just have the stones to come out and say it rather than create a bureaucratic quagmire for trans women.
So that quote represents the whole LGBTQI community? Or is that just one persons opinion on the policy? Fact is, right now transwomen are allowed to play AFLW. There is a process in place and there are currently transwomen going through that process so they can play. Sure the policy will be tweaked along the way but its fairly new ground for most people. Is there a particular part of the policy that you personally think should be changed?
 

The Tilt

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This is a bigger issue than just transgenderism because roughly 10% of women have hyperandrogenism, often caused by cysts on women ovaries which causes the abnormal production of testosterone and some women develop tumors in their pituitary glands which causes substantial growth and massively elevated testosterone levels.

Are we going to start policing what is normal and what isn't when it comes to biological men and women as well?
Nope. See, what we should do is simply set the eligibility criteria based on biological sex. That ensures a level playing field in the sense that women are not expected to compete with those who've enjoyed the benefits of male puberty. It also ensures that females who happen to be unusually tall, fast, strong etc are not punished for their physical prowess: that really would be discriminatory.

This argument that Mouncey is being unfairly treated unless we're also prepared to exclude biological females of a similar height, weight etc is really silly. For one thing (as others have pointed out), a biological male will be considerably stronger (more muscle mass, higher bone density) than a biological female of the same size. For another thing, it simply misses the point about the way in which eligibility settings function. A couple of analogies may help:

- I'm now an adult. This means I"m ineligible to play in the local Under 17s team - eligibility is restricted by age to create something of a level playing field, given the on average physical difference between 16-year-olds and fully-grown adults. Still, it's not like they test my height, speed, strength etc to make sure that I'm ineligible: my age is all that matters. Nor will it do any good for me to point out that there are kids in the team that are bigger than I am (though it's quite likely that there are.)

-Suppose that I take steriods. This means I'm ineligible to play in the AFL; in fact it probably means i'm ineligible to play football at any level. The performance enhancement that comes with steroid use would give me an unfair physical advantage. Again, note that nobody is interested in seeing how fast I can run before rendering me ineligible: the steroid use is all that matters. My complaining (following testing positive) that even with the steroids i'm not half as fast/strong etc as Lance Franklin will do me no good whatsoever.

Key point: if someone has a set of physical advantages due to naturally occurring physical prowess (e.g. Lance Franklin, the hypothetical 7ft tall AFLW player), then more power to them: sport is partly celebration of that naturally occurring physical prowess. If someone has a set of physical advantages due to their falling on the wrong side of eligiblity conditions in restricted categories, then that person is, you know, ineligible. It wouldn't matter if Mouncey were only 150cm tall: she's biologically male; hence she's not eligible to play in category restricted to females.

Fwiw, I genuinely sympathise with Mouncey and other trans women. Unfortunately, someone has to lose out here: fairness to female players requires that this be the trans women seeking inclusion in elite competitions.

p.s "AFL" is not a sport. "Football" works fine.
 

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owen87

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Apr 23, 2016
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AFL wants to parade around being a progressive organisation but it is giving lip service only when it comes to trans footballers. If you are going to talk the talk, then walk the walk.
I’d say it’s pretty clear what the AFL want; Mouncey not to play without them having to expressly say so.
 

Bombermania

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We do have one, but according to Foxsports the LGBTQI+ community told the AFL that their new policies were "discriminatory and more about exclusion than inclusion, were not fit for purpose and in many ways offensive - that they would drive potential trans and gender diverse players away from the game".

It was a bit unfortunate that the first trans woman who wanted to play AFLW was on the large side and had a history of competing in competitive sports, now we have every Neanderthal who has become an expert in biology giving their well informed opinions on something that will negatively impact a lot of trans athletes that are nowhere near the same size or strength as Mouncey.

I think it is fine if the AFL do not want trans women playing in the AFLW, they should just have the stones to come out and say it rather than create a bureaucratic quagmire for trans women.
I think this is where the case is interesting because its not entirely clear how the new policy is "discriminatory"

It clearly sets out a criteria for people like Hannah to be allowed to play and its always been the case that clubs and leagues can refuse to let someone play without reason so i'm not sure she will win on that but where she might have a case is in regards to the allowable testosterone level which is set at a lower level than other sports.

Ash Barty can have a higher testosterone level while playing the Australian Open than she could if she played for the Richmond AFLW side.
 
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blckcaviar

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When are we going to see a trans man wanting to play in a men’s team?
I think generally in sports the men's team is open to anyone who can be good enough, its only the women's team that is women-only. Seeing as even an elite female athlete wouldn't be as good as an average 17 year old male athlete.

Also, transmen (even if they were good enough to play against men which they wouldnt be) take testosterone which is a banned substance
 

HairyO

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I think generally in sports the men's team is open to anyone who can be good enough, its only the women's team that is women-only. Seeing as even an elite female athlete wouldn't be as good as an average 17 year old male athlete.

Also, transmen (even if they were good enough to play against men which they wouldnt be) take testosterone which is a banned substance
Girls tend to be banned from mixed sex contact sports early in the teenage years.

Which makes sense. For the very same arguments used to keep Mouncey out of the AFLW.
 

Sainter3and7

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I never knew much about controversies around transgender issues until I heard of a female colleague who'd been harassed because of her views on it. Basically, she was saying some of the things others on this thread have said and she was labelled a transphobe. I didn't know her well, but I asked her what her position was, since I wanted to know both sides of the story. I read various Twitter wars (from the UK, mainly) around it. Geez, it's nasty. I think there are extremists who take it too far. For instance, the pronouns issue - I researched Hannah Mouncey when I started to read this thread and I saw that story I posted earlier in a feminst page, womenarehuman.com Anyway, I saw on the same blog that a trans sex offender was complaining that the sex offender registry was discriminatory because it referred to his born name and gender, as well as her chosen name. That is ridiculous. Any issue has two sides, and extremists on one side can easily take it too far. That is an example of taking it too far, I think. So when I started thinking about competing rights (in that case, their right to choose their name versus the public's right to know who sex offenders are, but in this discussion, their right to play footy in the sex category they choose versus the right of women to play against people of the same sex)... it's not that one group wants to oppress the other, it's just that their interests and rights are in conflict. So people can choose their sides without being a hater, I think.
 

Goosecat

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It's a world of complete and total equality of all sexes/genders supposedly, in all areas of life.
Isn't it time people moved forward and accepted what that actually means?
Any gender should be able to participate in any area of life without their gender or sex being a determining factor. It's not allowed to be a determining factor in most areas of life anymore. Isn't it time sport caught up with the rest of society?
If we are truly heading towards total equality for all and the blending or breaking down of traditional "gender" based divisions then sport needs to be held as accountable as all other areas of life.
Women's sport is entirely sexist and it would seem entirely appropriate for it to face that reality, just as so many other areas of society have had to.
There does seem to be a determined effort throughout women's organisations to insist on having complete access to any and all things male whilst insisting that is strictly a one way street.
 

Scotland

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The female data looks seriously oddly distributed. I'd question the circumstances surrounding those testosterone levels.

I'm not an elite athlete, or much chop at footy. But for argument's sake lets say I am. According to the above graph of 446 elite male athletes there are about 30 whose testosterone level was 5 nmol/L or lower. If I am one of those 446 can I play AFLW?
 

WestCoast05

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I think it is fine if the AFL do not want trans women playing in the AFLW, they should just have the stones to come out and say it rather than create a bureaucratic quagmire for trans women.
Even though you hold the minority view I don't think anyone would disagree with this.
 

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Scotland

TheBrownDog
May 5, 2006
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It's a world of complete and total equality of all sexes/genders supposedly, in all areas of life.
Isn't it time people moved forward and accepted what that actually means?
Any gender should be able to participate in any area of life without their gender or sex being a determining factor. It's not allowed to be a determining factor in most areas of life anymore. Isn't it time sport caught up with the rest of society?
If we are truly heading towards total equality for all and the blending or breaking down of traditional "gender" based divisions then sport needs to be held as accountable as all other areas of life.
Women's sport is entirely sexist and it would seem entirely appropriate for it to face that reality, just as so many other areas of society have had to.
There does seem to be a determined effort throughout women's organisations to insist on having complete access to any and all things male whilst insisting that is strictly a one way street.
Granted you are being facetious, but yes abandoning the concept of men's and women's sports solves any eligibility criteria issues posed by transgender people. Or intersex, transsexual, whatever.

Women's sport essentially exists for the same reason junior sport is broken into age classes and sports like weightlifting and boxing are broken down into weight classes. And that's to create a sense of fairness. Comps have multiple divisions for a similar reason. At the junior and amateur level, if there was no sex classification after primary school age sports then the rate of females giving up playing sport once they reach high school age would be much, much higher than it already is. At the elite/professional level, women cannot compete with men in most sports so without sex classification there just wouldn't be women's professional sport. Serena Williams, Ronda Rousey, Flo Jo, Dawn Fraser... whoever, chances are if there was no women's sport you'd have never heard of them. A lot of women's sports leagues are commercial minnows compared to the men's equivalent, but the pathway from say Auskick to mixed junior footy to girls only footy from 13/14 to women's footy at whatever standard you reach keeps girls playing footy. Not many 14/15+ year old girls want to compete against their male counterparts and get flogged. It's like saying that if you are 14 you can play footy but you have to play U/18s.

It's not a popular opinion but many elite female athletes are marketable even if they aren't that good at their craft. Serena Williams wouldn't win a game off Novak Djokovic in 2 or 3 sets, and the men's tournament at the AO might bring in more ratings, sponsorship, ticket sales than the women's but you try telling Nike you want tennis to be truly 'open' and they won't have little Eastern European hotties modelling their latest little tennis dress to half the population.

Anyway, women's sport isn't going anywhere, and nor is the push for transgender athletes to choose to compete in it. Personally I think gender identity is irrelevant and eligibility should be purely dependent on biological sex. Any man who has not had "gender confirmation surgery" should automatically be excluded from competing in women's sports, that shouldn't even be an argument. I'm not sure on the official legality but the surgery is considered 'not suitable' for people under 18 years of age. Which is sensible given physical and mental maturity and that being the age of consent, but inventing parameters for men over the age of 18 to transition and be classified as women to compete in women's sports... well I'm not surprised no one can agree on that.
 

Tas

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I think this is where the case is interesting because its not entirely clear how the new policy is "discriminatory"

It clearly sets out a criteria for people like Hannah to be allowed to play and its always been the case that clubs and leagues can refuse to let someone play without reason so i'm not sure she will win on that but where she might have a case is in regards to the allowable testosterone level which is set at a lower level than other sports.

Ash Barty can have a higher testosterone level while playing the Australian Open than she could if she played for the Richmond AFLW side.
I am not sure if she has a legal ground, IAAF regulated that Caster Semenya had to be within the same testosterone range that the AFL use, but they apply the same limitation to biological women as well as trans women. Some biological women are over 8 nmol/L. CAS upheld the IAAF's right to place such restrictions and she lost the appeal based on "such discrimination was necessary". Running is a very mechanical sport and having higher testosterone is an advantage. Being 1/100th of a second faster at running can be the difference between winning and losing.

Mouncey isn't considering legal action because she wants to play AFLW, she just wants to play in the 1st division of the Canberra league, she is at present limited to the second division. The charade that this is for the protection of women is bogus because she is allowed to play against worse quality female footballers where she has a bigger advantage.

AFL isn't purely a mechanical sport, being stronger or faster in itself isn't the difference between winning or losing, if we can have the variability in size and strength between Neale and Sandilands at AFL level in the same grade of competition, then at what point is the variability between biological women and trans women who spent many years growing up with elevated testosterone levels material enough to matter?

We've obviously had some doctors and scientists come up with these testosterone values over certain periods. Is that sufficient? Trans women are required to submit other data, like what they bench press, 20m sprint, vertical jump, 2km time trial and GPS data. I am not sure how they expect women off the street to collect this data, just to play in the first division of the amateur grade. This data will be used against the athlete instead of for them, like the draft combine, so there is no incentive for the women to make the effort to apply themselves when testing, so the data will be largely meaningless. They must know this?

Assuming they know this, the data collection is simply an artificial bureaucratic barrier to discourage trans woman from pursuing AFL. Mouncey is seeking legal assistance with transparency when it comes to the data collection and the committee which is used to resolve disputes.

I don't know if trans women should be playing AFL in the women's league, I understand some of the concerns, I understand what TERFs think of trans women, but if scientists, doctors, etc say we can get a fair environment with testosterone at certain levels for certain periods and the AFL claims to be an inclusionary sport and provides the guidelines for their inclusion then they should walk the walk rather than just talk the talk. I think it is worse for the AFL to act this way instead of just saying no to trans women in AFL.
 

blckcaviar

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Jul 21, 2018
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It's a world of complete and total equality of all sexes/genders supposedly, in all areas of life.
Isn't it time people moved forward and accepted what that actually means?
Any gender should be able to participate in any area of life without their gender or sex being a determining factor. It's not allowed to be a determining factor in most areas of life anymore. Isn't it time sport caught up with the rest of society?
Not sure if this is sarcasm, but women can't overcome innate physical difference such as being smaller with more fat distributions, less muscle mass, and skeletons that make running less efficient. Women have evolved these differences because they are the sex that becomes pregnant and breastfeeds. I'm sure plenty of women would love to "identify" out of their biology so that they could be better at sport, but biology doesn't work that way (otherwise I would identify as Michael Jordan)
 

The Tilt

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I don't know if trans women should be playing AFL in the women's league, I understand some of the concerns, I understand what TERFs think of trans women, but if scientists, doctors, etc say we can get a fair environment with testosterone at certain levels for certain periods and the AFL claims to be an inclusionary sport and provides the guidelines for their inclusion then they should walk the walk rather than just talk the talk.
*Groan*

First, the term 'TERF' is a slur used against feminists who dare to speak their mind on trans-related issues. You might find some way to brandish your progressive credentials that doesn't involve attempting to silence women who disagree with you.

Second, which scientists say including trans women within testosterone limits is fair? Just saying repeatedly saying "the science demonstrates this" doesn't actually show that the science demonstrates this. Here's a recent peer-reviewed article on this issue (published late last year)

"Longitudinal studies examining the effects of testosterone suppression on muscle mass and strength in transgender women consistently show very modest changes, where the loss of lean body mass, muscle area and strength typically amounts to approximately 5% after 12 months of treatment. Thus, the muscular advantage enjoyed by transgender women is only minimally reduced when testosterone is suppressed."

 

The Tilt

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I think it is worse for the AFL to act this way instead of just saying no to trans women in AFL.
Ok, my response immediately preceding this one was perhaps a little rude. On conciliatory note, I completely agree with this point. It looks like the AFL's trans inclusion policy is heavily shaped by PR considerations. I think that excluding trans women is the right approach; it would better if they just came out with this (my understanding is that World Rugby has taken this approach).
 

owen87

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I'm not an elite athlete, or much chop at footy. But for argument's sake lets say I am. According to the above graph of 446 elite male athletes there are about 30 whose testosterone level was 5 nmol/L or lower. If I am one of those 446 can I play AFLW?
No idea, haven't read the policy all that closely
 

RobbieGray17

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Granted you are being facetious, but yes abandoning the concept of men's and women's sports solves any eligibility criteria issues posed by transgender people. Or intersex, transsexual, whatever.

Women's sport essentially exists for the same reason junior sport is broken into age classes and sports like weightlifting and boxing are broken down into weight classes. And that's to create a sense of fairness. Comps have multiple divisions for a similar reason. At the junior and amateur level, if there was no sex classification after primary school age sports then the rate of females giving up playing sport once they reach high school age would be much, much higher than it already is. At the elite/professional level, women cannot compete with men in most sports so without sex classification there just wouldn't be women's professional sport. Serena Williams, Ronda Rousey, Flo Jo, Dawn Fraser... whoever, chances are if there was no women's sport you'd have never heard of them. A lot of women's sports leagues are commercial minnows compared to the men's equivalent, but the pathway from say Auskick to mixed junior footy to girls only footy from 13/14 to women's footy at whatever standard you reach keeps girls playing footy. Not many 14/15+ year old girls want to compete against their male counterparts and get flogged. It's like saying that if you are 14 you can play footy but you have to play U/18s.

It's not a popular opinion but many elite female athletes are marketable even if they aren't that good at their craft. Serena Williams wouldn't win a game off Novak Djokovic in 2 or 3 sets, and the men's tournament at the AO might bring in more ratings, sponsorship, ticket sales than the women's but you try telling Nike you want tennis to be truly 'open' and they won't have little Eastern European hotties modelling their latest little tennis dress to half the population.

Anyway, women's sport isn't going anywhere, and nor is the push for transgender athletes to choose to compete in it. Personally I think gender identity is irrelevant and eligibility should be purely dependent on biological sex. Any man who has not had "gender confirmation surgery" should automatically be excluded from competing in women's sports, that shouldn't even be an argument. I'm not sure on the official legality but the surgery is considered 'not suitable' for people under 18 years of age. Which is sensible given physical and mental maturity and that being the age of consent, but inventing parameters for men over the age of 18 to transition and be classified as women to compete in women's sports... well I'm not surprised no one can agree on that.
What about on the grounds of safety. A trans woman doesn't want to undero surgery, but still identifies as a woman. Just something to think about.
 

Bombermania

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Dec 18, 2007
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It's a world of complete and total equality of all sexes/genders supposedly, in all areas of life.
Isn't it time people moved forward and accepted what that actually means?
Any gender should be able to participate in any area of life without their gender or sex being a determining factor. It's not allowed to be a determining factor in most areas of life anymore. Isn't it time sport caught up with the rest of society?
If we are truly heading towards total equality for all and the blending or breaking down of traditional "gender" based divisions then sport needs to be held as accountable as all other areas of life.
Women's sport is entirely sexist and it would seem entirely appropriate for it to face that reality, just as so many other areas of society have had to.
There does seem to be a determined effort throughout women's organisations to insist on having complete access to any and all things male whilst insisting that is strictly a one way street.
I understand where you are coming from and that is why people like Hannah are able to play women's sport, as long as they met the criteria. But the moment we remove that criteria to allow people to complete regardless of whether they met that criteria or not then we will be opening the door to mass drug cheating that will make the East Germans look like amateurs.

This is why in setting gender policies, women's sports has one eye on WADA and its anti-doping codes. If we bring this back to Essendon and the supplement saga, the cause of that saga was Essendon's list was undersized so in order to complete against the bigger bodied sides, it went down the road of the supplement program.
 

Laphroaig

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Also, transmen (even if they were good enough to play against men which they wouldn't be) take testosterone which is a banned substance
Not quite. There are (rare) therapeutic exemptions which allow athletes to take prohibited substances for compelling medical reasons.

Which would open a whole other can of worms. Is the desire to identify as the other gender sufficient to justify a ruling of medical necessity, no matter how strong that desire is?

In any case. Any potential difficulty in getting a TE approved is not the reason we never hear about trans people trying to break into mens sport.
 

Laphroaig

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Makes me laugh a bunch of men sitting around arguing why women should have to play sport against biological males that identify as females.

This is a decision that should only involve females and preferably female players only.
You should try to tone down the bitterness a bit. You'll never get a husband with that attitude.
 

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