Women’s team The Flying Bats with five trans players dominates women’s football tournament

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A Sydney women’s soccer team which features five transgender players has sparked controversy after dominating the North West Sydney League pre-season Beryl Ackroyd Cup.

The Flying Bats Women’s Soccer Club claimed the $1000 prize after winning the grand final of the pre-season tournament with a 4-0 win over the Macquarie Dragons in the decider.

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The Flying Bats website states the club is “the biggest LGBTQIA+ women’s and non-binary football club in the world”, having been founded in 1985.

The website adds: “While we started out as a club for lesbians, we’ve evolved over the years to become a space that welcomes everybody from across the rainbow family.

“We especially encourage trans and gender-diverse folks to join us, with research showing that access to safe community sport can help improve the mental and physical wellbeing of minority and oppressed groups.”

But not everyone is happy with The Daily Telegraph reporting club officials in the NWSL telling the paper “some parents have pulled their daughters out of the games over safety concerns and say the players did not anticipate signing up to play against biological males in the female Sunday comp.”

The Flying Bats went undefeated in the tournament, including a match where one of the transgender women scored six goals in a 10-0 win.

Some parents also called for the team to play in the mixed competition on Saturdays, which includes male players.

One senior club official told the Telegraph: “Our girls are here to play for fun and expect to play in the female competition. They did not sign up for a mixed competition.

“There’s no transparency from Football NSW, the girls don’t know if they are going to be playing biological males or not.

“Some of the parents were so concerned they would not let their daughters play … It was so disheartening for them to see the huge ­difference in ability – they’re killing it.”

Kirralie Smith, a spokesperson for Binary Australia, an advocacy group that maintains that there are only two genders, claimed the league was putting player’s safety at risk as well as claiming that some teams were warned not to complain or forfeit for the fear of being fined or referred to Anti-Discrimination NSW.

The Flying Bats Football Club president Jen Peden hit back at the claims and defended the team’s victory, saying: “Trans women belong in the women’s competition because that is the gender with which they identify”.

“As a club, the Flying Bats FC stand strongly for inclusion, and pride ourselves on safe, respectful and fair play, the promotion of a supportive community for LGBTQIA+ players, officials and supporters, and the significant physical, social and mental health benefits that participation in sport brings, especially to marginalised members of the LGBTQIA+ community. We are a club that values our cisgender and transgender players equally,” Peden said.

“We strongly support the Australian Human Rights Commission’s guidelines for the inclusion of transgender and gender diverse people in sport.”

She added: “Trans women have played with the club for at least 20 years, at levels ranging from beginner to skilled, just like our cis women players. Our players are graded on ability, and placed in the team that is most appropriate for their skill and experience level, and we look forward to a respectful, competitive season across our eight teams in 2024.”

A spokesman for Football NSW told The Daily Telegraph the league takes “pride in being at the forefront of developing inclusive policies for the sport in Australia and operates within the existing legal framework, including antidiscrimination legislation.”

“Football NSW continues to align with Football Australia’s adoption of the Australian Human Rights Commission’s ‘Guidelines for the inclusion of transgender and gender diverse people in sport’, under which, community players are permitted to participate in Football on the basis of the gender with which they identify,” the spokesman said.

With New York Post

Read related topics:Sydney

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