Sport, from the suburban backyard to the manicured turf of the MCG, has always been recognised as a defining aspect of our national life. The deeds and words of our great heroes and intellects rouse little interest among us, yet even the most uneducated will likely have an encyclopaedic knowledge of the names of great sportsmen and of current statistics. Bemoaning the fact, Henry Lawson wrote:
In the land where sport is sacred, where the lab’rer is a god,
You must pander to the people, make a hero of a clod!
Now, in our ideological times, progressive politics has raised a new hero from the clod. Standing at 185 centimetres tall, weighing in at 100 kilos and built like a BSH, this hero once represented Australia for the men’s handball team but has since chosen to identify as a woman. He/she is now permitted to play against women at the state league level of the WAFL.
Cullen Mouncey began his gender-transition to become Hannah Mouncey in 2015-16. Through hormone treatment, he lowered his testosterone levels to meet the 10 nanomoles per litre of blood prescribed by the International Olympic Committee’s standards for admission into women’s sport (99 per cent of female athletes have a testosterone count of fewer than 3.08 nanomoles per litre).
Mouncey then joined the ACT women’s league and quickly rose to apply for the national draft. Yet the fledgeling WAFL, perhaps sensing that allowing transgender players to compete would endanger the reputation of a league still trying to establish itself, rejected her application, weakly citing concerns about Victorian regulations rendering her too strong to play.
This elicited much sound and fury from the media gallery, with the Sydney Morning Herald declaring that the competitive nature of sport is becoming increasingly irrelevant ‘amid a real world that is shaking itself free from the binary’.
In response to such sustained media attention, the WAFL has now allowed Mouncey to compete at the state league level, and has made a soft retreat from their original stance, with the AFL’s general manager of ‘inclusion and social policy’, Tanya Hosch, saying that “we are committed to inclusion, and want all Australians to be able to play or participate in our game”. As a result of this, the WAFL is now working with the Australian Human Rights Commission in developing a ‘National Anti-Homophobia and Inclusion Framework’, with the stated goal of ‘suitably protecting people on the basis of gender identity or intersex status’. As well as the ‘Pride in Sport Equality Index’, which annually measures and rates leagues on LGBTI inclusiveness, the AHRC is committed to transsexual ‘inclusion’ in women’s sport.
For those of us who still enjoy the old-fashioned ‘binary’ of a win or lose competition, sport has remained a happy diversion from the daily harassment of politics. Yet it is now being increasingly utilised as a conduit for preaching political orthodoxies to the masses. Against the general tradition of not talking politics at the dinner table, the AFL now actively promotes political positions on multiple issues, and increasingly devotes space that would otherwise be reserved for sport to preaching its ideological fancies.
For most, these issues remain a minor distraction to the game. Yet, in the case of Hannah Mouncey, we come to the point of peak absurdity where ideology finally abuts reality. Sport is where reality asserts itself; a level playing field where fundamental inequalities of strength, speed and temperament find resolution in the pursuit of victory over an opponent.
Despite our new ethos of self-identity as the solitary arbiter of truth, the natural difference between the athletic aptitudes of men and women has rightly led to sex-segregation in sports where this physical imbalance has effect. This is a perfectly good and justified state of affairs, allowing, as it does the different sexes to compete on fair and equal terms. Our new ideological requirements, however, do not allow for this natural differentiation. Gender ideology demands that self-identity must transcend physical reality and that blokes who decide to be sheilas can bestride the field like genderless leviathans, crushing their opponents with the advantage of decades of male physical development. It is all good and well to deny gender differences as socially constructed falsehoods until they are writ large in the carnage of broken female bodies on the sports field.
This carnage is what will inevitably ensue if physical reality bends to ideological whimsy. We have seen transgender Mixed Martial Arts fighters dominate their female opponents with multiple knockouts, transgender weightlifters win international championships and increasing numbers of until recently male athletes making use of the International Olympic Committees generous standards for femininity; a testosterone level below 10 nanomoles per litre and ‘identifying’ as a female for a period of four years.
Despite the technical measurements of national and international bureaucracies, the sum of a woman is more than a hormone count and a few years of ‘self-identifying’, and the sad result of this progressive push is that women’s sport will suffer under increasing pressure from both powerful transgender players and from audiences bemused as they watch the sport they love being submerged beneath an ever-thickening, treacly layer of identity politics.
To paraphrase Lawson;
In the land where sport was sacred, where the girls are now contenders,
You must bend to ideology; make heroes of transgenders!
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