Hannah Mouncey denied eligibility to participate in AFLW Draft

Lynette Rowe
October 19, 2017

I am someone that is passionate about diversity and inclusion in sport.

"I caught up with Hannah, and she's a really impressive individual". Hurting the sports that I am passionate about or making someone feel like they were not welcome in the Australian sporting family is the last thing that I want to do.

"(I) will not be doing any interviews or making comment on the situation".

'If people have an interest in me because I'm trans, then that is what it is. But I'm going to raise some questions in the hope that this leads to an open dialogue.

'But the AFL game is quite different to a number of those sports'.

Most importantly, there is a way to have hard conversations in a respectful manner. "You'd think it would be the other way around if it was an issue". Anyone who can not express a view without resorting to name-calling is not someone I want involved in the sports that I am passionate about.

The AFL has ruled against a 190cm tall, 100kg transgender player who wanted to nominate in the AFL women's draft because she'd have been too strong for her opponents.

Having previously played for Australia's men's handball team, Mouncey began a gender transition in 2015.

Mouncey's dream to play in the premier women's competition ground to a halt on Tuesday after the game's governing body ruled she needed to undergo more of a transformation.

Given the AFL's decision was made less than 24 hours before the draft, Mouncey won't have time to appeal.

As Fox Sports notes, the AFL, as with many other sporting bodies, do not now have a policy relating to transgender athletes, which is why they were put into a decision where they had to make a specific decision.

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Dale Sheridan is a lawyer and transgender woman. The easy answer, of course, is yes. Women come in all shapes and sizes.

But after much deliberation AFL decided she was ineligible to play at the professional level.

Mouncey's last reading was well below these requirements. Or is Mouncey's size and physical strength genuinely something that they were concerned about?

Experts say she passes Olympic guidelines for transgender athletes.

Do the same concerns not exist outside the elite level?

The league said the subcommittee "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".

To briefly backtrack: Mouncey has been playing football for Ainslie in the AFL's Canberra Women's competition. I met up with her probably six weeks ago.

It is a freakish situation when a player is ruled illegible to play in a competition with the elite women players - those who are the fittest, strongest and most skilful in the country - and yet she can play with women in a competition whose skills and strength are at a far lower standard. The AFL first became aware of Mouncey wanting to participate in the draft back in June.

But the Magpies captain said she could see the logic in the AFL's decision.

The AFL's decision has garnered a mixed response, with many voicing their criticism on social media.

Mouncey regretfully accepted the league's decision on Tuesday, releasing a short statement that the AFL posted on its site.

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