No case for blanket ban on trans athletes

AIS guidelines find no case for blanket ban on trans athletes, say LGBTIQ+ sporting bodies and Equality Australia

16 June 2023 – LGBTIQ+ sporting bodies and human rights organisation Equality Australia have welcomed the fact the new Australian Institute of Sport guidelines do not include a blanket ban on trans athletes.   “After extensive consultation and research, the AIS has found there is no case for a blanket ban on trans athletes in any sport, even at the elite level,” said Anna Brown, CEO of Equality Australia.

“The guidelines also encourage sporting bodies to start from a position of inclusion and state that any restrictions must be justified on a case-by-case basis and be no more than necessary to ensure meaningful competition for everyone.”  

Ms Brown noted that the new guidelines make a clear case for trans inclusion in community sport.   “The public conversations about trans people’s participation in sport has undue impact on the trans community and real consequences for their participation in the sports they love at a community level,” she said.  

“Overwhelmingly, sporting bodies in Australia have been navigating these issues in a sensible and practical way and we hope to see this continue.   “Sport improves health and wellbeing, fosters connection and builds community. It’s part of the Australian way of life and something that should be for everyone.”   

CEO of Pride Cup Hayley Conway: “Everyone loses when we exclude people from sport because of who they are. No athlete should be targeted for wanting to compete or experiencing the joy of being part of a team.”     

National Program Manager of Pride in Sport Beau Newell: “Every person in Australia has a fundamental right to participate in sport. The announcement of these new guidelines reinforces the importance of inclusion, and that there is a place for trans and gender diverse athletes in elite sport. “Sport is for everyone, and these guidelines reaffirm the need that sporting bodies play their part in providing a safe and inclusive environment for all.    “Every player, coach, volunteer, and fan have the right to be accepted for who they are, including people with a trans experience. We know that when everyone feels welcomed and included, their mental and physical health improves.”   

CEO of Proud2Play Christine Granger: “The practice of sport is a human right that everyone has the right to participate in free from discrimination, even at the highest levels. Elite sport plays a unique role in driving society’s attitudes, and thus every sport has the opportunity and responsibility to make sure they consider all elements when creating their policies.”    

Olympic silver medallist swimmer Madeliene Groves: “Australia prides itself on being a country that gives people a fair go, we should never deny people opportunities because of their gender. Sport exists to entertain and inspire the community; sports people are celebrated for their talent, hard work and dedication, and trans people are wholly capable of all of these things. Trans people deserve to play sport like anyone else.”       

Olympic silver medallist swimmer Taylor Mckeown: “I’m all for allowing trans athletes to compete in sport and giving them equal opportunity to pursue their dreams, have fun and compete to the best of their ability. After all, isn’t that what sports are all about?”  

Media contact: Tara Ravens 0408 898 154