Lynn Cheikh Moussa
The past year has yielded some interesting changes to local and worldwide communities: agendas are changing, topics that have been previously shunned are now being brought to light, and activism is surging if only by a millimeter.
Although most of these changes have not necessarily been of huge benefit, such as the disappointing election of Donald Trump or the Texas aid-ban for those who choose to boycott Israel, many carry potentially beneficial consequences that affect the social, economic, and political spheres worldwide.
The sports world is no stranger to such changes as that has become evident in light of recent events. This past October, transgender woman Hannah Mouncey became the first transgender person to ever openly attempt to become part of the country’s national Australian Rules Football League’s women team (AFLW).
Mouncey has previously represented Australia in the men’s European Handball League until her transition into a woman over the course of the past two years.
In order to become part of the team, Mouncey had to apply and await approval from the administrators. The Australian Football League (AFL) follows International Olympic Committee rules that state that trans women athletes need to have testosterone levels below 10 nanomoles per liter in order to compete in the league.
Despite her attempts, Mouncey has been rejected to participate in the competition in 2018 as the AFL declined her request.
In the AFL’s defense, the league took its decision based on the Victorian Equal Opportunity Act, that states that athletes can be discriminated against based on their sex or gender “if strength, stamina, or physique is relevant” as told in an article by “The Age”.
Mouncey has a height of 190 centimeters and weighs 100 kilograms, which makes her physique rather different from other women in the game. She has even stated that she is aware that others might look at her differently in the game.
Despite this disapproval, Mouncey has been given the opportunity to apply to the 2019 draft, where she will have to go through the same process to obtain approval. While she has openly expressed her disappointment at the decision, she has accepted it and thanked them “for the genuine way in which they approached my situation” as told in a statement.
While the decision only came so close as to becoming a reality, it still remains expressive of the progress Australian sports has accomplished with having Mouncey publicly attempt to become part of the team. While Mouncey’s attempt has been in vain, her dream is sure to become a reality in the coming years.