Sporting Pride and Dublin Pride host unmissable conversation with Trans athlete Joanna Harper

The exclusion of Transgender athletes has shown there is a need for more open, inclusive dialogue.

A smiling woman standing in a garden

Sporting Pride and Dublin Pride would like to invite you to join us for a live discussion with Transgender athlete, author and researcher Joanna Harper – a medical physicist who over the years has advised a number of international sports federations on the topic of Transgender inclusion in sport.

Joanna herself is a competitive runner who is currently researching Transgender athletic performance at Loughborough University in the UK.

The exclusion of Transgender athletes from sporting activities in Ireland and across the globe has shown there is a need for more open, inclusive dialogue in the public sphere. Sporting Pride was saddened, hurt, and deeply disappointed by Irish Rugby’s recent decision to ban Trans women and girls over 12 from competing in contact rugby. Setting this precedent of discrimination within Irish Sport is dangerous, and not a road we think anyone wants to go down.

To the IRFU and other National Governing Bodies in Ireland who may be considering such a ban, we are calling you in, not calling you out, to do better. Listen, centre, and work with the Trans community it directly affects.

A quote from Anna Brown, CEO of Equality Australia – “All women deserve to be treated with dignity and respect, no matter who they are, whether they’re Trans or not, and regardless of their innate sex characteristics.”

Inclusion policies need to centre the Trans community, and come from a place of inclusion not exclusion. If you don’t know where to start, follow Trans voices, follow Trans organisations, follow queer sports clubs. Listen to them and work with them. It is for this reason we are hosting events, like this one, to provide a platform for the Transgender community to speak out and have their voices heard.

Another amazing Transgender athlete, author, and current Chairperson of Dublin Pride, Philippa Ryder, will be leading this discussion. Philippa says that “the current negativity and transphobia directed at Trans women who wish to take part in sports is something we as a community need to address strongly. We need to educate both the general public and also the governing bodies who all too often fall back on the Health and Safety argument, despite there being a lack of international research showing that Trans women do have an advantage or that they pose a risk to cis women.

“Within genders there is a huge range of body types and yet there is no argument when, for example, Irish rugby star Peter Stringer faced New Zealand’s Jonah Lomu, despite their massive difference in stature. It is vital that all who wish to play sports are able to exercise their human rights to do so on their preferred teams, for both their physical and mental health.”

This conversation with Joanna Harper will be live streamed via Dublin Pride’s Facebook page on Wednesday September 14th at 4pm. Viewers will have the opportunity to leave comments and questions throughout, which will be discussed by our presenter towards the end. We look forward to welcoming you all to what promises to be an informative discussion.

With thanks to the Bank of Ireland Begin Together fund and the Community Foundation of Ireland.

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