The AFL Is Getting Slammed After Banning A Transgender Player From Entering The AFLW

Fans are not impressed.

Hannah Mouncey AFLW

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Transgender footballer Hannah Mouncey will be prohibited from participating in next year’s AFL Women’s competition, after the league rejected her application to nominate for the draft.

Mouncey, who represented Australia as part of the men’s handball team before transitioning, played football for Ainslie in the Canberra Women’s League this season, and had attracted interest from a number of AFLW clubs. But on Tuesday the AFL knocked back her request to join the national women’s competition, reportedly citing the Victorian Equal Opportunity Act which allows for discrimination against athletes based on sex or gender “if strength, stamina or physique is relevant”.

In announcing their decision, the league said it had “carefully considered all of the information provided by Hannah, as well as the available data on transgender strength, stamina, physique along with the specific nature of the AFLW competition”. The decision applies only to this year’s draft, meaning that Mouncey will be able to reapply in a year’s time.

The AFL’s ruling comes despite the fact that Mouncey’s hormone levels are well within those required to compete as a woman at the Olympics, according to IOC regulations.

In the wake of the decision, the AFL Players’ Association has criticised the league for its lack of clear guidelines for transgender athletes.

“No athlete should face such confusion around their eligibility for an elite competition just days out from a draft,” said AFLPA spokesperson Brett Murphy. “We have urged the AFL to prioritise the development of guidelines detailing the process and parameters for entry into the AFLW competition, so that Hannah and any other players have a clear understanding of their eligibility.”

Meanwhile, prominent gay footballer Jason Ball, who is known for being outspoken on issues of equality in the game, said that the decision to exclude Mouncey was based on “fear, ignorance and lack of internal readiness”.

Ball’s sentiment was echoed by many other football fans on social media, a number of whom adopted the hashtag #LetHannahPlay in support of Mouncey.

In a statement, Mouncey said she was “extremely disappointed” by the decision to block her entry into this year’s draft, but thanked the league “for the genuine way in which they approached my situation”.

She also confirmed that she will play for Ainslie again next year, and hopes to nominate for the draft in 2018.

h/t SBS