Alice Springs Town Council has denounced transphobia and declared its support for diversity and inclusion in all sporting codes.
- Alice Springs councillor widely agreed to endorse diversity and inclusion in sports
- Councillor Kim Hopper brought the motion to council after being contacted by members of the community
- The statement has been celebrated by the local trans community
It acknowledged in a statement that members of the transgender community faced exclusion in sports and said it was unacceptable that some people might feel unwelcome or unsafe in the community as a result.
“Diversity and inclusion belong in sport,” the statement reads.
“Everyone living in Alice Springs should be able to participate in sport and physical activity in a welcoming and inclusive way – regardless of gender, sexual orientation, ability, cultural background, ethnicity, location or life stage.”
The statement has been released amid international debate about transgender women competing in sport at the highest levels, with multiple world governing 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 was 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 council’s statement made him hopeful that young trans people would be included in ways that made them feel safe.
“I’m sick of seeing trans women being held up in the media and in the world as something to be feared and something to be othered,” Teddy said.
Council strives for inclusion
Alice Springs town councilor Kim Hopper brought a motion to council requesting that it release a statement of support for the transgender community and organize educational workshops for council staff.
The motion was supported by all nine councillors.
“It was really comforting to know that we could have a respectful conversation at the local government level.
“Council is coming out saying we want to be a beacon of inclusion and diversity and we want our sporting organizations to come along with us.”
Ms Hopper said she had been contacted by the mother of a young transgender person in town who thanked her for showing leadership on the issue.
“Essentially it’s suicide prevention techniques as well, to come out and say we’re not going to support those calls that are coming out and really attacking people in our community,” Ms Hopper said.
She said the statement could eventually lead to an inclusion policy by the town council.
Just the beginning
Nic Carson plays in a local queer and trans-inclusive basketball league in Alice Springs.
“There are many barriers to inclusion for trans people who want to participate in sport and in the absence of that, we make our own spaces and our own community,” she said.
“Registration can be a huge (obstacle) – having just male (or) female, two boxes that they force everyone into when you try and sign up.”
She said a lack of facilities like gender neutral bathrooms was also an issue.
She said everyone had something to gain from improving amenity and access, not just for trans and gender diverse people.
She applauded the council’s statement and called for Northern Territory sporting leagues and the Territory Government to follow suit.
“Hopefully, this is the first of many,” she said.
Read the full statement from the Alice Springs Town Council here.
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