Almanac People: Transsexuality and Australian Football

BY – JACKSON CLARK

 

Should a transgendered person be allowed to play women’s footy?

 

Take for instance the story of Kirsti Miller, who was born and lived over 30 years of her life as a rugged country bloke named Warren Miller.

 

Kirsti loves playing football but much to her disappointment, she has been ostracised from all the local women’s footy clubs in Broken Hill.

 

“The rules clearly state that I can play the game.” Miller told Lace Out Podcast.

 

“It breaks my heart that every other person is allowed to play the game they love.”

 

It hasn’t always been this way – Miller played a handful of women’s footy games in 2013, copping plenty of on-field abuse due to her transsexuality.

 

“I copped abuse from players, officials and spectators from other clubs.

 

“It was a new thing to everyone so I expected some flak on the field but I thought I would receive far more support from AFL officials.

 

“Never once have I ever sought for anyone to be punished for these things that happened and it is certainly not what I am advocating for.”

 

But after speaking out about her ordeal in 2013, she was told that she was no longer welcome at her current club.

 

Since that day every attempt that she has had to join a football club has been unsuccessful, despite being accepted as a respected member of her local soccer team.

 

The common argument is that the fact that she was born a male would give her an unfair advantage against other women and could potentially put them at a risk of being injured.

 

But Miller vehemently denies this and says that, if anything, she is at a disadvantage.

 

“In 2003 the International Olympic Committee (IOC) formed the Stockholm Consensus, which was comprised of medical and sporting experts.

 

“They determined that post-operative male-to-female athletes will have no physical advantage after the denial of hormone treatment.

 

“I am massively weaker than I used to be; my mother, sisters and daughters produce male hormones, which I do not at all.

 

“If you had a person the same age and same weight participating in the exact same fitness regime, they would have a massive advantage.”

 

Miller believes that it is an insult to the women of Broken Hill to assume that she is a physical threat and that during her playing days there were never any complaints about her being too rough.

 

But alas, Kirsti Miller remains a forced spectator … at least for the time being.

 

FACEBOOK – Lace Out with Jackson Clark

 

About Jackson Clark

Born and bred in Darwin, Northern Territory, I am a young, aspiring football writer that lives and breathes the game of Australian Football. I'm also a keen player and coach.

Comments

  1. Its an interesting conundrum Jackson. I am not aware of the AFL’s position on this if in fact they do have one, but I know in Olympic circles, female-to-male transgender athletes are immediately eligible for competition, while male-to-female transgender athletes must declare their gender as female and show that their testosterone levels are below a certain threshold for at least one year before competing.
    Athlete Caster Semenya has had to sit out 3 years of athletics while testosterone levels were checked and finally she is allowed to compete as the levels were adjusted. She is currently favourite for Gold in the 800m in Rio.

  2. Paul Young says:

    Just to clear up any confusion davep – Caster Semenya is not transgender (male to female) Caster is a female.

    Granted there was suspicions following her win in the 2009 World Championships, and she underwent gender testing but she was soon back competing in 2010. The fact she looks much stronger than her opposition is purely down to genetics.

    She wasn’t denied the chance to compete for 3 years.

    After the gender testing in 2009, she was cleared to compete in 2010.

    She only missed the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Dehli due to injury. Caster won the silver medal in the 2011 World Championships and silver again in the 2012 Olympics. She struggled for form during 2013 to 2015.

    She recently won the 400m/800m1500m treble at the South African national titles. She is undefeated on the 2016 IAAF circuit, winning her Diamond League events relatively easily. She should win the gold medal in Rio however she has been tactically flawed in the past so it will be interesting to see if she can handle the pressure of being the favourite.

  3. Paul thanks for the clarification, I don’t think I stated she was transgender, my mistake if inferred.

    I was alluding to the inconsistency of transgenders in competition and that increased testosterone level is not an absolute determining factor. She sat out of competition, maybe for injury but I understood the IAAF placed a ceiling on the testosterone levels of female competitors around the time her performances dropped and she was allegedly taking medication to lower her levels, the ceiling level was challenged and given a two year exemption, allowing her to race as is and times and performance improved. A Silver in London 2012 showed perhaps she was susceptible to pressure.

    I don’t have any issue with her competing in Rio, I feel for her in that she has to go through all this extra pressure.

    There was an interesting article by Peter Bruckner discussing her testosterone levels, the IAAF relaxing the ceiling and her improved performances.
    http://www.smh.com.au/sport/olympics/rio-2016/rio-olympics-2016-why-transgender-issues-could-dominate-the-games-20160605-gpbx24.html

  4. simple answer is you should play in a team with the sex you were born with,ie
    born a male play in a male team
    born a female play in a female team
    thats the only fair way to do it

  5. rabid dog says:

    Kristi – contact Port Adelaide (women’s) team. Thier coach is a transgender woman too – I bet M could get you a game here in Adelaide. And Andrew – it’s sad that Port seem more in tune with the world on this than you are.

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