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Women’s pro football league bans transgender player from AFLW draft

The AFLW has told Hanna Mouncey she is not welcome in the league this year.

2017 AFL & AFLW Draft Combine
These women are automatically eligible for the AFLW Draft, since they are not transgender.
Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images

The AFLW has banned transgender athlete Hannah Mouncey from the league’s draft. Mouncey had applied to be eligible for the draft after playing this year for Canberra. Instead, the league decided Mouncey is a threat to the fledgling league and its competitive balance. The last-minute decision affects the 2018 draft, which takes place Wednesday.

“The subcommittee’s decision took into account the stage of maturity of the AFLW competition, its current player cohort and Ms Mouncey’s individual circumstances,” the league said in a statement.

“We acknowledge Hannah’s openness and co-operation,” said Tanya Hosch, AFL general manager, inclusion and social policy. “She has contributed to a process which will substantially inform the development of the AFL’s transgender policy and procedure for future players at the elite level.”

That process and development currently exclude transgender athletes from competing.

Just to be clear, Mouncey is permitted to play at other levels of football. It’s only the AFLW that is banning her from their highest level.

Kate O’Halloran of The Guardian isn’t having it.

“The AFL’s last-minute decision to deny Hannah Mouncey the right to nominate for the 2018 AFLW draft is a significant step backwards in any self-professed claim the league has to inclusiveness,” O’Halloran wrote. “It amounts to a serious and damaging about-face for an organization that so recently threw its support behind the marriage equality campaign in an effort to demonstrate its respect for all LGBTI people involved in the game, including its players.”

Part of the problem is the last-minute nature of Mouncey’s exclusion. It has been apparent since June that Mouncey intended to be part of the draft, and that teams were interested in drafting her. That the AFLW chose to wait until the day before the draft to exclude her is incredibly disrespectful.

Mouncey, for her part, has been incredibly gracious, releasing this statement of the news, as carried by news.com.au:

While I am disappointed with the AFL’s decision regarding my participation in the AFLW draft, I accept the league’s decision and thank them for the genuine way in which they approached my situation.

Despite not being able to take part in the draft, I note that while I am not able to compete in the AFLW this season, the AFL has given me the all clear to play for Ainslie next year in the AFL Canberra competition for which I am very grateful and look forward to doing in 2018, before hopefully being able to nominate for next year’s draft.

I will be making no further comment at this time.

She also took to Twitter to congratulate all of the people eligible for the draft:

What a class act.

You can follow Hannah Mouncey on Twitter @hannahmouncey1.