The admission of transgender athletes to competition: The case of Hannah Mouncey

Published 27 March 2018 By: Cassandra Heilbronn


In October 2017, the Australian Football League (AFL) decided that transgender athlete Hannah Mouncey was prevented from participating in Season 2 of the Australian Football League for Women (AFLW) in 2018 by refusing to allow her to be nominated in the pre-season draft. In doing so, the AFL relied on an exemption in the Equal Opportunity Act1 (EO Act) (explained below). However, in February 2018 the AFL confirmed that Mouncey was able to participate in any AFL-affiliated State based competitions2. What makes these decisions interesting is that the AFL's reasons for doing so relate to Mouncey's strength, stamina and physique, as she stands 190cm tall and weighs 100kg3.

This article provides a summary Mouncey's sporting career and the AFL's decision, which is the first (known public) decision, to not allow an athlete to participate, for a transgender athlete in professional sports in Australia.


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Cassandra Heilbronn

Cassandra Heilbronn

Cassandra Heilbron

Cassandra is the Sports, Entertainment and Events Regulation Legal Manager at the Royal Commission for AlUla, and prior to June 2019 was a Senior Associate in the Sports and Corporate Risk practice group at MinterEllison in Australia. Her practice areas saw her acting in commercial matters with worldwide sporting organisations, corporations and sponsors; event management; player disputes on behalf of Clubs and governing bodies; player selection appeals for international athletics competitions and managing image rights and social media disputes (defamation and discrimination). Over the past twelve years, Cassandra also acted in insurance disputes primarily in the management liability, professional indemnity, medical negligence and public liability space.

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