Alice Springs City Council has denounced transphobia and declared its support for diversity and inclusion in all sports laws.
- Alice Springs City Council unanimously agreed to support diversity and inclusion in sport
- Council member Kim Hopper introduced the motion to the council after being contacted by members of the community
- The statement was celebrated by the local trans community
It acknowledged in a statement that members of the transgender community are marginalized in sport 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 said.
“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 stage of life.”
The statement was released amid an international debate about transgender women competing at the highest level in sport, with several 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 this was in response to what was happening in federal politics at the time and the gross trans-womenophobia and transphobia being used as political fodder.
Teddy said the recent restrictions on transgender athletes are having a “real impact” on transgender people and their mental health.
Teddy said the council’s statement gives him hope that young trans people will be included in a way that makes them feel safe.
“I’m tired of seeing trans women being feared and held up in the media and in the world as something to be excluded,” Teddy said.
The Council strives for inclusion
Alice Springs Councilwoman Kim Hopper introduced a motion to the council asking that they issue a statement of support for the transgender community and organize educational workshops for council staff.
The motion was supported by all nine council members.
“It was really reassuring to know that we were able to have a respectful conversation at the local government level.
“The council comes out and says we want to be a beacon for inclusion and diversity and we want our sports organizations to come with us.”
Ms Hopper said she was contacted by the mother of a young transgender person in the city who thanked her for showing leadership on the matter.
“Essentially, it’s also suicide prevention techniques, to come out and say we’re not going to support these 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 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 when that’s not the case, we create our own spaces and our own community,” she said.
“Registration can be a huge (obstacle) — just having males (or) females, two boxes that they force everyone into if you try to sign up,” she said.
She said a lack of facilities like gender-neutral bathrooms is also a problem.
Ms. Carson said everyone could benefit from improving convenience and access, not just transgender and gender-matched people.
She welcomed the Council’s statement and called on the Northern Territory sports leagues and the Territory Government to follow suit.
“Hopefully this is the first of many,” she said.
Read the full statement from Alice Springs City Council here.