In New Zealand, transgender athletes will now be able to participate in community sports in the gender they identify with, and without the need to prove or justify their identity. This is according to new guiding principles released by Sport New Zealand, the New Zealand Crown entity responsible for governing sports and recreation in New Zealand.
“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 stated. “It does not ask people to prove or otherwise justify their gender, sex or gender identity.”
Nonetheless, these guidelines do not apply to elite sports, as it will still be up to individual sports decide if they choose to discriminate against transgender athletes.
Transgender participation in sports continues to be a controversial issue, with some groups arguing that transgender women – in particular – who are athletes should be banned from female categories as they may have unfair advantage because of their biology.
But SNZ stated that it is essential for community sport leaders to be committed to inclusion.
Some efforts SNZ is considering to showcase the aforementioned inclusion include: using pronouns in email signatures and communications, appointing inclusion officers, establishment of gender neutral facilities, and redesigning of uniforms to accommodate different body types and shapes.