Alice Springs City Council denounced transphobia and declared its support for diversity and inclusion in all sporting codes.
- Alice Springs Councilors unanimously agreed to endorse diversity and inclusion in sports
- Councilor Kim Hopper took the motion to the council after being contacted by community members
- The declaration was celebrated by the local trans community
He acknowledged in a statement that members of the transgender community faced exclusion in sport and said it was unacceptable for some people to feel unwanted or unsafe in the community as a result.
“Diversity and inclusion belong to sport,” the statement reads.
“Everyone who lives in Alice Springs should be able to participate in sports and physical activities in a welcoming and inclusive way – regardless of gender, sexual orientation, ability, cultural background, ethnicity, location or stage in life.”
The statement came amid an international debate about transgender women competing in sport at the highest levels, with various world government bodies banning or restricting the participation of transgender athletes.
But the council’s statement had been in the works for months after members of the transgender community called for local leadership and support during the federal election campaign.
Resident Teddy McDiarmid said it was in response to what was happening in federal politics at the time and the gross transmisogyny and transphobia that were being used as political fodder.
Teddy said recent restrictions on transgender athletes had “real impacts” on transgender people and their mental health.
Teddy said the board’s statement made him hopeful that trans youth will be included in ways that make them feel safe.
“I’m tired of seeing trans women being regarded in the media and the world as something to be feared and something to be despised,” Teddy said.
Council fights for inclusion
Alice Springs Councilor Kim Hopper filed a motion to the board asking it to release a statement of support for the transgender community and organize educational workshops for board staff.
The motion was supported by all nine councilors.
“It was really comforting to know that we could have a respectful conversation at the local government level.
“The Council is saying that we want to be a beacon of inclusion and diversity and we want our sports organizations to come with us.”
Hopper said she was contacted by the mother of a young transgender woman in town, who thanked her for showing leadership on the issue.
“Essentially, it’s also suicide prevention techniques, to go out and say we’re not going to support the calls that are going out and really attacking people in our community,” Hopper said.
She said the declaration could eventually lead to a policy of inclusion by the city council.
just the beginning
Nic Carson plays in a local queer and trans-inclusive basketball league in Alice Springs.
“There are many barriers to the inclusion of trans people who want to participate in sport, and in the absence of that, we create our own spaces and our own community,” she said.
“Registration can be a big (hurdle) – having only men (or) women, two boxes that force everyone in when you try to register.”
She said the lack of facilities like gender-neutral toilets was also an issue.
She said everyone has something to gain from improving convenience and access, not just for transgender and gender-diverse people.
She applauded the council’s statement and called on the Northern Territory’s sports leagues and the Territory Government to follow suit.
“I hope this is the first of many,” she said.
Read the full statement from Alice Springs City Council here.
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