Transgender footballer Hannah Mouncey has accused the AFL of ‘promoting exclusion over inclusion’ as she prepares to take legal action against the league.
Transgender footballer Hannah Mouncey has accused the AFL of ‘promoting exclusion over inclusion’ as she prepares to take legal action against the league.

‘Discrimination’: AFL torn to shreds over transgender policy

Transgender footballer Hannah Mouncey says she has been forced to take legal action against the AFL just to play Canberra first grade given its new transgender policies.

Taking to social media, Mouncey posted a lengthy statement in which she accused the AFL of discrimination and promoting exclusion over inclusion.

"This is a statement I hoped I would not have to make," she wrote.

"However after being made aware that word of the below potential actions had become known in some, however small, parts of the media I can confirm that unless we are able to resolve the issue I will be taking the step of proceeding with legal action against the Australian Football League and its Gender Diversity Policy (Elite).

"This is not a step I take lightly and not one which I have had any desire to take if it could be avoided, however I believe at this point I have no other option if I want to play football in the AFL Canberra First Grade Compeition in 2021.

"Following the announcement of the AFL's updated Gender Diversity Policy in October 2020, I, on numerous occasions, have attempted to have conversations with the AFL about the policy to firstly highlight a few significant concerns that the policy raises, whilst trying to get answers to some key questions around how the policy would be applied before submitting the relevant information to the AFL for their consideration ahead of the up coming season.

"These questions I believe are the bare minimum that need to be able to be answered for a process to be considered transparent and for all parties to be able to have faith in the process."


Mouncey questions the following:

*If a player can play state league can they then by default play AFLW given there is no advantage in playing state?

*Will the AFL make public the data it uses when comparing physical attributes of players?

*Can the AFL guarantee its data is accurate?

*Will players be compared with like for like peers - ie same position?

*In the event of a complaint against a player on safety grounds will said player continue while investigate in a bid to stamp our tactical complaints?

*How is a player deemed safety risk? What is the criteria?

*Does player safety also apply to trans players and their mental health?



Mouncey, who has endured a torrid experience in her quest to play footy, said she had submitted extended versions of the above questions to the AFL. None were answer adequately in her opinion.

Legal action it seems was the final straw, and one she had hoped to avoid.


In her latest statement, Mouncey explains that she does qualify to play for the Canberra second grade but flagged this as a potential issue to potential opponents given she plays well above this standard.

She flags this "not as a trans issue but simply one about players being able to play in the most appropriate competition to their ability."

Mouncey also accuses the AFL of having policies decided by people "more about exclusion than inclusion".

She calls for trans people to be treated with the same respect and dignity reserved "for the rest of society".

"It's been made abundantly clear numerous times to the AFL by the LGBTQI community (that) members who were involved in the AFL draft policies were discriminatory and more about exclusion than inclusion," she wrote.

"(They) were not fit for purpose and in many ways offensive.

"If I could avoid taking legal action I would, however in the meetings I have had with the AFL I came away each time feeling that they were not being had in good faith; instead I came away feeling simply that the meetings were being held so that I could be fobbed off by the AFL's legal team while they could still say they had a meeting.

"I cannot emphasise enough how much I do not want to take this step. I have no desire to play AFLW, and it is simply my hope that common sense will prevail and that I will be able to play in the AFL Canberra first grade competition rather than having to play second grade.

"This is not a step I take just because being able to play football is important to me, but it is because for too long the trans community has been on the fringes of society and marginalised.

"Trans people deserve to be treated with the same amount of respect and dignity as the rest of society, to be made to feel a valued part of the community.

"I and many others have sat back and watched as racism is shouted down, sexism is shouted down; as society and the wider sporting community makes it clear that neither are acceptable in 2021.

"In the age where all manner of abuse is called out the moment it is seen or heard, transphobia it seems largely goes unchecked. This is not OK, the message it sends to trans adults and kids all around the world is not OK, and to not take action when it is so obviously needed is not OK either."

It's not the first time Mouncey has found herself in this position having been forced into a similar situation back in 2018 when the AFL's transgender policy allowed for trans players to be excluded from the AFLW competition.

She has since fought tirelessly for the rights of trans players.

The AFL has been contacted for comment.




Originally published as 'Discrimination': AFL torn to shreds over transgender policy