Transgender athletes in New Zealand will be able to participate in community sport without having to prove or justify their gender identity, according to new guidance released by Sport New Zealand (SNZ). “An inclusive transgender policy allows individuals to take part as their self-determined gender and not as the sex they were assigned at birth,” SNZ said in a statement on 6 December. “It does not ask people to prove or otherwise justify their gender, sex or gender identity.” The sporting body also explained that the decision to make the policy more inclusive was made after requests from several national sporting organisations.
Exclusionary policies can be “alienating” to a group that already has a “lived experience of mental distress,” it added. “We want to help sports organisations because we know playing sport provides many physical and psychological benefits for individuals,” SNZ’s statement continued. “These include providing the opportunity for people to socialise, build relationships, and engage with their communities.” The guidelines will not apply to elite sporting events and it will be up to individual sport to decide how they allow trans athletes to take part.
The sporting body also noted that the policy will not be explicitly enforced, despite being recommended: “The intention is for individual sports to use these to guide the development of specific policies for community sport within their codes, some clubs may also use them to help create a more inclusive environment.” SNZ emphasised trans people’s right to privacy and recommended a number of protective measures to keep them safe in sport, including not asking “invasive questions” or deliberately misgendering someone.
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