The AOC Says “Everyone Is Welcome Into Sport”, Despite Trans Women Being Excluded

Multiple sports have moved to ban trans athletes this week.

olympics trans

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The Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) has announced it will allow each individual sport to make its own decisions in line with the International Olympic Committee’s framework.

It has been an intense week for trans athletes after FINA — the governing body overseeing water sports competitions — announced on Monday that trans athletes would effectively be banned from the sport, a decision that came after months of brutal attacks towards the likes of Lia Thomas.

Swimming was the first Olympic sport to introduce such a trans-exclusionary policy on the matter, but the decision has sent shockwaves through sport more broadly — with the International Rugby League quickly following suit by announcing its own ban.

Meanwhile, FIFA, World Athletics and the World Netball Federation have all since confirmed they are reviewing their own policies — with announcements as to where trans athletes stand yet to be made.

But while some sporting associations — like German football — have been quick to distance themselves from the trans-exclusionary movement by confirming that trans athletes will be allowed to choose which leagues they play in, the AOC hasn’t exactly followed suit.

Instead, the AOC is mirroring the policy implemented by the international board, which is to leave it up to each individual sport to make its own choices.

“The thing we constantly need to focus on is the fact that sport needs to be inclusive,” said AOC boss Ian Chesterman on Friday. “We need to create opportunities for every young Australian and, particularly, if you come from a marginalised group. We need to be encouraging you to be using sport as part of your development and your growth.”

The AOC noted that inclusion is important, but also pushed the notion that “fair competition” is also needed — a narrative that has repeatedly been spruiked by TERFs.

“There does come a point in time when we move through being involved in sport to at a point in elite competition where there is a need to have a fair competition, and each sport will decide how they achieve that balance,” said Chesterman.

Despite the AOC’s lack of intervention, Chesterman and AOC chief executive Matt Carroll remain confident that Australia’s Olympic body is a safe and inclusive space for trans athletes — despite the growing list of individual sports that beg to differ.

“Everyone is welcome into sport, absolutely,” said Carroll on Olympic Day yesterday.

“There are 46 sports and everyone can find a place in an Olympic sport, without a doubt, and they are most welcome.”