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New Zealand Sets A New Gold Standard For Trans Inclusivity In Sports

New Zealand Sets A New Gold Standard For Trans Inclusivity In Sports

Laurel Hubbard
Alex Pantling/Getty Images

This marks a bold move toward greater inclusivity of trans and nonbinary athletes.

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Sport New Zealand dropped its new guiding principles on Tuesday, and it’s a banger. According to these new rules, trans and non-binary people are not only able to compete in sporting events, but they can also do so without justifying their gender identity.

“We are encouraging sport and physical activity to be provided in an inclusive way that ensures that everyone is able to, and feels comfortable, undertaking physical activity. An inclusive approach allows transgender individuals to take part in their self-determined gender and not the sex they were assigned at birth. It does not ask people to prove or otherwise justify their gender, sex or gender identity,” wrote SNZ in the new guidelines.

There’s one pretty big caveat, however: These guidelines don’t apply to elite sporting events, as those will be decided on a case-by-case basis by the individual sporting bodies. Despite that limitation, this is a huge step forward in inclusivity and ending discrimination against trans and nonbinary athletes.

These rules changes came about following multiple requests from national sporting organizations, according to a statement from SNZ, reports PinkNews.

“This is important because being active improves our physical and mental health. It also connects us with other people in our community and has been proven to improve school attendance and academic achievement,” SNZ wrote. “Exclusion from physical activity can have an alienating effect on individuals and groups. This can be particularly harmful to transgender people who may have lived experience of mental distress and marginalization, including chronic, repeated experiences of exclusion, stigma, and discrimination, in many areas of their daily life.”

While these rules aren’t being explicitly enforced, SNZ hopes that they will be adopted. “This should include a clear statement and/or objectives that promote the inclusion of all transgender participants, signaling to transgender people that they are welcome, encouraging them to remain engaged,” the body said.

As it stands now, these policies are currently geared toward non-elite level sports in the country, so we can only hope it’s a step toward opening hearts and minds that will one day see these practices become the norm.

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Rachel Shatto

EIC of PRIDE.com

Rachel Shatto, Editor in Chief of PRIDE.com, is an SF Bay Area-based writer, podcaster, and former editor of Curve magazine, where she honed her passion for writing about social justice and sex (and their frequent intersection). Her work has appeared on Elite Daily, Tecca, and Joystiq, and she podcasts regularly about horror on the Zombie Grrlz Horror Podcast Network. She can’t live without cats, vintage style, video games, drag queens, or the Oxford comma.

Rachel Shatto, Editor in Chief of PRIDE.com, is an SF Bay Area-based writer, podcaster, and former editor of Curve magazine, where she honed her passion for writing about social justice and sex (and their frequent intersection). Her work has appeared on Elite Daily, Tecca, and Joystiq, and she podcasts regularly about horror on the Zombie Grrlz Horror Podcast Network. She can’t live without cats, vintage style, video games, drag queens, or the Oxford comma.