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Transgender people in Sport

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Sport should be a welcoming space that provides empowering experiences for all, Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins said at the launch of the National Guidelines for the inclusion of transgender and gender diverse people in sport.

The Guidelines were developed by the Australian Human Rights Commission in partnership with Sport Australia and the Coalition of Major Professional and Participation Sports (COMPPS).

The Guidelines provide information on the Sex Discrimination Act 1984 (Cth) and guidance on creating and promoting inclusive environments in sport at all levels, from community to elite, across Australia.

Commissioner Jenkins said at the launch in Melbourne that the Commission consulted with a broad range of sporting stakeholders, including transgender and gender diverse participants across a variety of sports and competition levels to develop the guidelines.

“Unfortunately transgender and gender diverse people are sometimes excluded from sport or experience discrimination and sexual harassment when they do participate,” Commissioner Jenkins said.

“While some reported positive experiences of inclusion, others described how they had been excluded from the sports they loved because of their sex or gender identity. 

“Some spoke of disengaging from sport during their transition journey because of their concern about how they would be treated.

“I look forward to sporting organisations using these Guidelines to take steps to encourage the inclusion of transgender and gender diverse people in their sport.” 

Sport Australia CEO Kate Palmer said sport “must be safe and inclusive for all.”

“It must take strong, proactive leadership to stand up against any attitudes or behaviours that lead to discrimination in sport, so I urge every sporting organisation to use this resource as a guide to make your sport more inclusive,” Ms Palmer said. 

“Every single person involved in Australian sport can play an important part in being more inclusive.”

COMPPS represents some of Australia’s biggest sports, including 9 million participants and 16,000 clubs. 

COMPPS spokesperson Craig Tiley urged all sports to engage with the guidelines.

“As custodians for our sports, we all need to embrace and promote the importance of diversity and inclusion so that sport better represents individuals, communities and Australia as a whole,” Mr Tiley said.