Netball Australia is at odds with international policy

Netball Australia commits to the inclusion of transgender and gender diverse athletes in elite competitions | Netball Australia

Netball Australia’s inclusion policy is at odds with the International Netball Federation policy. NA insist males who appropriate the female sex should not only be allowed to play at an elite level, but that they should also be protected from criticism or complaints.

The International Netball Federation policy states that elite level netball is for females only:  Microsoft Word - INF Position Statement - Male Participation in Netball - Approved INF Board Feb 2018.docx

  • Netball is one of the few team sports to attract girls and women to participate in large numbers contributing to addressing the current global disparity in sports participation, with the resultant benefits on health and wellbeing. This sets netball apart from many other sports which are working hard to attract females. This is netball’s unique selling point and is something that should be maximised.

  • INF welcomes mixed netball as a growing recreational form of the sport.

  • Members are encouraged to consider safety matters in the development of opportunities for mixed netball, taking into account the physical differences of men and women.

  • Members are encouraged to consider the provision of modified games which allow for mixed participation and the development of core skills up to at least the under 11 age group.

  • The primary focus at international level will remain ‘female only’ netball.

Netball Australia is not interested in protecting the female-only status and wants protections and opportunities for males to appropriate the female sex to compete. The only proviso is that males must have lowered their levels of testosterone. The lowered levels are still twice as high as most females and do not take into account the advantages of height, strength, stamina and speed that males have due to their biological advantages.

Through the policy, transgender and gender diverse people who test as having less than five nanomoles of testosterone per litre of blood for at least a 24-month period would be eligible for selection within netball’s elite competitions. See below for background information on this**. 

*Netball Australia elite competitions include Origin Australian Diamonds, Suncorp Super Netball, Deakin University Australian Netball League, state-league competitions and 21/U, 19/U and 17/U state and national teams, including state and territory member organisation’s highest female elite competition where a member organisation has not adopted their own policy.

**“Normal” healthy range in males is anywhere from 9.2 to 31.8 nanomoles per litre. It is about 10 times lower in females, with “normal” levels considered to be between 0.3 amd 2.4 nmol/l. Females with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) have levels considers to be between 3.1 and 4.8 nmol/l.

The Netball Australia policy uses the propaganda line that “sex assigned at birth.” Sex is not assigned at birth, it is observed. It is evidenced by scientific markers such as gamete production, chromosomes, genitalia, hormone production and reproductive system.

Beware any female who thinks this policy is unfair or unsafe. While there is a pathway to complain, if a woman does so, and the complaint is not upheld, she can be found guilty of victimisation under the policy.

Instead of promoting and protecting this female dominated sport, Netball Australia has written a policy that gives preferential treatment to males who appropriate womanhood and threatens to penalise any member who expresses concern about it.

It is time for Netball Australia to come into line with international policy and common sense. Males, including those who identify as transgender women, can play in male or mixed competitions. There is absolutely no need for them to be included in the elite female category.