Get to Know Proud 2 Play Athlete: Emily Fox
Emily Fox is a transgender athlete with a passion for footy and a desire to promote intersectionality and inclusion within sport for the future. A proud Hawthorn fan (going on 25 years of membership), Emily’s passion begun as a 12-year-old playing against under 16’s, this taught her how to physically love the game, going on to describe the game as, “chaotic synchronicity, the ball and bodies forever defying physics. It’s beautiful.”
Proud 2 Play were fortunate to be able to sponsor Emily Fox for her 2019 season playing Australian Rules with the St Kilda Sharks where her and her team were able to win the Premiership, being Emily’s first flag since she was 15 but also the first flag as the person she was always meant to be, “just one of the girls winning the dream together.” Emily is going to tell us a little bit about her experience playing sport as a gender diverse individual and some of the challenges she has faced along the way.
Q: How has your experience, playing footy as a transgender sports person and how do you go about dealing with adversity? Any tips for readers?
A: Luckily for me my experience has been mostly positive, with the exception of a small
number of transphobic incidents on the field or from over the fence. Both teams I’ve
played for have been incredibly accepting and supporting, and having their support
has really helped me through the tough moments, but I know of other trans athletes
turned away from different clubs and that needs to change.
Q: Putting your sports inclusion policy to the test, have you seen any guideline changes following your involvement?
A: Honestly, I haven’t witnessed any changes in official policy, as the policies around
trans participation are generally unknown and quite vague. However, the clubs I’ve
been a part of have really embraced inclusive behaviours just as a result of having
me involved and getting to know me. This year several opposition teams in the same division as me are also supporting trans athletes, so representation helps inclusive attitudes
Q: How have your teammates and coaching/support team been for you at your current club? How have they affected your sporting experience?
A: My club is like my family. From my teammates, coaches, fitness staff, committee,
sponsors and supporters, I’ve felt nothing but love. Everyone is respectful of the
transgender experience, and whilst the fact that I’m gender diverse isn’t even really
mentioned at all, I know that if anyone was to take exception to my participation I’ll
have an entire club in my corner fighting for my right to play. I’m incredibly lucky,
but I also acknowledge that this should be the norm.
Q: Who has been your biggest support within your club? How have they helped you on your journey?
A: Everyone at my club has been incredible, but I really have to acknowledge the love
and support from Ann Fulton and Leesa Catto. They were the ones who approached
me and asked me to come play for the Sharks, and have looked after me whilst I’ve
been going through some very challenging times in my life. Leesa and Ann have
been at the forefront of creating everything that women’s football is today, and the
fact they are huge supporters of the gender diverse community is special.
Emily then went on to set out some goals for 2020, she is itching to begin her coaching career, taking a break from playing to hopefully find a position in sport, football in particular of course!