Think about the message it sends to women and girls

The Guardian has a piece by Hannah Mouncey, an Australian trans woman who plays Australian rules football.

Hannah Mouncey

 Graham Denholm/AFL Media/Getty Images

That’s Mouncey in the red jersey.

Late last week, the AFL released its long-awaited policy on transgender participation in Australian rules football. In it are a set of requirements trans women need to follow if they aim to play at AFLW level. These include having your testosterone below a certain level for two years, which I have no problem with, as well as the requirement that trans women undertake number of physical tests designed to ascertain if they have an advantage over cis women playing AFLW – the presumption being that this is because they are trans.

What does that mean, “the presumption being that this is because they are trans”? Surely the issue isn’t that they are trans but that they have male bodies.

The reasons I’m critical of the AFL’s policy are not the reasons people may assume. Essentially, every physical requirement the policy asks me to meet I will. I know what I can do, and I know how I compare overall. Yet, there are still a number of issues surrounding how the policy is applied.

It is not yet clear, for example, if the data being used by the AFL to compare cis and trans women can be independently verified. Nor can we be sure the clubs have accurately reported their data. The question that has been answered by the AFL, however, is that if a trans athlete and a non-trans athlete were both to perform above average on their testing regime, the trans athlete would be excluded from AFLW, but the cis athlete wouldn’t. Not very consistent, or fair.

Hold on just a second there. Framing it as “trans athlete” and “cis athlete” makes it sound like underdog and oppressor – but again, the issue isn’t “trans athlete,” it’s “athlete with male body.” In Mouncey’s case, very large solid powerful body. Even if you buy into the idea that “cis” people have privilege over trans people, that doesn’t automatically cancel out the advantage male bodies have over female bodies in sports like football.

My biggest concern is the fact that weight is being used as one of the key physical measures for possible exclusion. Forget the fact that in a game that has such an emphasis on endurance and speed, being heavy is not necessarily an advantage and think about the message it sends to women and girls about their bodies: if you’re too big, you can’t play. That is incredibly dangerous and backward.

Aw yeah, I’m sure that’s really what Mouncey cares about.

But what I find most puke-worthy here is Mouncey’s willingness and in fact determination to do this thing – to play a contact sport on a women’s team while having a body like a brick shithouse. That’s got nothing to do with being trans, it’s all about being an entitled self-centered shit.

Updating to add another photo of Mouncey playing on the women’s team:

Image may contain: 2 people, people playing sports and outdoor

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