The International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Interphobia and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT) is a day to celebrate the LGBTIQA+ community globally and raise awareness of the continued work needed to prevent discrimination towards these communities.
Today, Skate Australia as the national sporting organisation for skate sports (including artistic skating, inline hockey, rink hockey, roller derby, skateboarding and speed skating) expresses its concern and disappointment with the politicisation of transgender athletes.
Skate Australia is dedicated to building an inclusive, respectful, and safe culture for all of its members and the wider skating community. Support for the proposed Sex Discrimination and Other Legislation Amendment (Save Women’s Sport) Bill 2022 is a step backward for inclusion.
The current legal framework should not be modified and the proposed bill is unnecessary, sending a harmful message about women’s sport being exclusionary.
Trans and Gender Diverse (TGD) people - as well as people with intersex variations – deserve to be free from discriminatory mindsets that challenge participation in sport.
One of the many issues with the bill is it seeks to amplify discrimination against members of a community that already experiences high rates of social isolation and poorer physical and mental health.
Skate sports play an important role in actively reducing mental health issues and suicide in these marginalised populations.
Skate Australia stands united with the clubs in our diverse skating community that have a long standing practice of welcoming trans athletes. As a national sports organisation we work to ensure the safety and integrity of our competitions and growth of our sports through various inclusive activities.
Sport Australia’s guidelines ‘National Guidelines for the inclusion of transgender and diverse people in sport’ were developed by the Australian Human Rights Commission following consultation with a broad range of sporting skateholders, including transgender and gender diverse participants. Any future legislation should be developed following similarly broad and diverse consulation.
Several leaders in the skating community have today expressed their support of transgender participants:
“The claim that we should fear our devoted and cherished fellow players is as offensive, absurd and puts people we love at risk. Sport serves to unite us. We stand with our fellow players who are being vilified in pursuit of political agendas that only serve to divide us,” said Inner West Roller Derby President Rainbow Smash.
“Skating clubs exist to bring the benefits of sport to the whole community. Inclusion is who we are and what we love. Our skating community absolutely rejects the dangerous and wrong claims that that trans athletes are a threat to women and girls. They are part of our skating family.”
“Skaters reflect a wide and wonderful diversity of difference in age, size, disability, health status, strength and skill. Gender expansive inclusion recognises this diversity as strength. We recognise our trans inclusivity as strength.”
Skateboarder Evie Ryder said, “As a skateboarder who is also transgender and female identified, being accepted and supported by the skate community continues to be a long and powerful journey in my life. Working with the transgender community to build a safe and enjoyable skate experience can be the only way forward. Trans-exclusionary practices, guidelines, or bills only fuel hatred and bigotry.”
Skate Australia Executive Director, Ariane de Rooy said “as the former CEO of Sport Australia, Kate Palmer said in 2019 – the simplest approach is to ‘put people first.’ Sport must be safe and inclusive because we all have the right to enjoy the fantastic benefits of sport and physical activity.“