6 March 2019
RE: TRANSPHOBIC BEHAVIOUR DISPLAYED BY SAM NEWMAN
Proud 2 Play, in conjunction with Pride Cup Australia, Stand Up Events, Pride in Sport (ACON), AFL Pride Collective, and in association with the AFL, offer the following statement regarding transphobic behaviour recently displayed by Sam Newman on social media.
Transgender and Gender Diverse people experience disproportionately higher rates of mental health issues and low rates of participation in sport through fear of discrimination or harassment. In recent years, the Australian sporting community have advanced their practices to match the expectations of wider society by increasing their acceptance of Trans and Gender Diverse people and we urge prominent members of the sporting community to follow suit.
Proud 2 Play strongly believe in basing discussions around inclusion on evidence-based research and facts, not on assumptions. Research undoubtedly documents the negative impact of transphobia on the Transgender and Gender Diverse community. We also wish to highlight the positive role sports organisations can play in providing inclusive, safe and affirming environments for Transgender and Gender Diverse athletes. This is especially important for young Transgender and Gender Diverse people as without adequate support, many will contemplate self-harm and even suicide.
Sam Newman’s recent post on social media is harmful and insulting towards Transgender and Gender Diverse people. His comments do not align with the way in which Australians expect Transgender and Gender Diverse people to be treated in this country and are baseless, untrue and disrespectful. Athletes do not transition their gender to gain greater advantage in sport; they do to ensure they can live a life as their true and authentic selves. Sam Newman’s comments only bring harm to a population that already face numerous challenges that cis-gendered individuals will never have to face.
The AFL is currently working on their community football Transgender and Gender Diverse inclusion policy and has a zero-tolerance approach to unfair discrimination on the basis of Gender and Sexuality. AFL’s General Manager of Inclusion and Social Policy, Tanya Hosch, said, “This commentary is ignorant and designed to humiliate. The AFL is proud to work with the LGBTI+ community to ensure our sport is welcoming and inclusive, and these comments are damaging to young trans people, and the broader LGBTI+ community.”
Proud 2 Play’s Events and Outreach Manager Bowie Stover, who is also a Gender Diverse Athlete, said, “We have seen first-hand the positive impacts that arise when Trans and Gender Diverse Australians are encouraged and supported by sporting associations, clubs and prominent figures in the sporting community.”
“We want to see positive representation of the Trans and Gender Diverse sporting population to grow and for the mainstream community to understand the benefits in promoting inclusion in sport. We are pleased to see the AFL offering their support to the LGBTI+ community and showing a top down approach to tackling discrimination.”
Transgender Australian Handball player Hannah Mouncey, who has been at the centre of Transphobic abuse in sport, said, “I too, am well to aware of what Transphobic attitudes in our community can cause to Trans and Gender Diverse individuals. It can cause not only a perception of fear for the LGBTI+ community but can also push young people from ever getting involved in sports in the first place.”
“We must call out transphobic actions and language whenever and wherever we can, to make sure sport becomes a platform for inclusion and diversity and not a statement of exclusion.”