Transgender footballer Hannah Mouncey in action for the VFLW Darabin Falcons at Preston City Oval on May 5.
Transgender footballer Hannah Mouncey in action for the VFLW Darabin Falcons at Preston City Oval on May 5. DAVID CROSLING

Transgender player reveals death threats and slams the AFL

EVERYONE is entitled to their opinions, but no one is entitled to their own facts.

And on International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, Hannah Mouncey wants people to listen to the whole truth surrounding her footy story.

It has been seven months since the AFL rejected Mouncey's bid to enter the AFLW draft.

And seven months since her life turned upside down.

"Before then, no one really knew who I was," Mouncey told foxfooty.com.au.

Mouncey has since received more than 500 death threats to her personal email.

Even her registration with VFLW team Darebin created headlines, despite the fact Mouncey had previously played women's footy in Canberra's state league, with Brownlow Medal winner Chris Judd weighing into the situation

"The level of testosterone that transgender women grow up with for 20-plus years puts them at a distinct advantage to put down muscle bulk, create power that other females athletes don't have," Judd said on Footy Classified.

"I think the AFL were right in not allowing Hannah to play in the AFLW."

Hannah Mouncey has represented Australia in both men's and women's handball competitions
Hannah Mouncey has represented Australia in both men's and women's handball competitions Ray Strange/News Limited

Mouncey's testosterone has been medically lowered to such a point that it's not only less than the average female, but close to non-existent.

But according to Mouncey, the AFL "didn't care" that she'd taken such steps.

This is despite the International Olympic Committee basing its rules regarding gender regulations on the steps she had taken.

"The AFL's entire process for judging whether I could play was asking what I could bench press, what I could squat and what I could dead lift," Mouncey said.

"That was it. I met with them, had conversations and informed them what the IOC policy is and offered them my blood test results for my testosterone levels. But they didn't care."

Mouncey believes that if she were smaller than her 190cm and 100kg build, the AFL's approach to her draft application certainly would have been different.

And there are other transgender athletes playing in state leagues that fit this bill. Emily Rowe, for example, stands at 162cm and weights 50kg and plays for the Shepparton Bears.

Angie Greene, the founder of Stand Up Events - a charity that aims to stamp out homophobia and transphobia in sport - says the AFL has a lot to answer for.

"Emily Rowe has been playing football for a couple of years now and no one has even blinked an eyelid," Greene told foxfooty.com.au.

"There's never been a discussion around whether she should be able to play in the women's league or not.

"Ever since the AFL rejected Hannah's bid to register for the AFLW draft, she has received hundreds of death threats. And that doesn't even factor what happens on social media.

"The AFL has done this to her. They've had no communication with her and have completely failed her."

Mouncey finds the whole situation perplexing.

She kicked three goals for Darebin on the weekend, but was named the club's sixth best player. Sure, she can read the play well. But she's not taking the competition by storm.

"That's the reason I'm playing deep forward," she said with a laugh.

"If I was that good I'd be playing in the midfield or the ruck. I can read the play quite well, and that's something I picked up from playing handball at an international level."

Still, alternative facts seem to prevail when it comes to Mouncey.

Opinions are voiced as facts, she feels, and often transgender athletes are left out of the conversation.

"People are often happy to ignore the truth because it challenges the way they see the world," she said.

While Greene concedes we're traversing "new territory" when it comes to transgender athletes, she says there's a responsibility to ensure decisions are based on fact.

"It's 2018 and we have the responsibility to include, at the bare minimum, include the trans people in this discussion so we can learn, be educated and be informed so we can appropriately have a conversation about it," Greene said.

"That is what we need to do at the bare minimum.

"At the moment we have people making so-called expert opinions, but they don't have any idea what they're talking about."

A spokesperson for the AFL said it was "incredibly distressing" to learn of the hate mail Mouncey had received and that a transgender policy was still in the making.

Mouncey is optimistic an appropriate policy will be in place by the time the next AFLW draft comes around.

"For all the conjecture around it, sport is by far and away the most accepting environment I have found," Mouncey said.

"As far as the AFLW goes, why not? I never set out to do it.

"But the opportunity came along to play football and if the opportunity came around to play AFLW then I'd give it a crack."


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