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Soccer club with several transgender players dominates women’s tournament

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A recent soccer tournament in Sydney, Australia has sparked controversy after the Flying Bats FC, a women’s soccer team with five transgender players, dominated the competition, winning every game and claiming the $1,000 prize.

The Flying Bats FC, supported by Pride Football Australia, won the pre-season Beryl Ackroyd Cup tournament, securing a 4-0 victory in the grand final and achieving an undefeated record throughout the four-week competition.

The team’s dominance has led to outrage among some parents who have expressed safety concerns over their daughters competing against the transgender players.

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Some parents have even pulled their daughters from future games due to these safety concerns, stating that they did not sign up for a mixed competition and were disheartened by the huge difference in ability.

The president of the Flying Bats FC, Jen Peden, defended the club’s tournament victory, emphasizing the team’s commitment to inclusion and the promotion of a supportive community for LGBTQIA+ players, officials, and supporters.

Peden stated that the club values both cisgender and transgender players equally and strongly supports the Australian Human Rights Commission’s guidelines for the inclusion of transgender and gender-diverse people in sport.

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Not everyone was celebrating the victory.”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,” one senior club official said. “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,” the official said.

Binary Australia spokesperson Kirralie Smith said the policy puts players at risk.

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The outrage was sparked online. “Are you getting angry yet?” Sky Australia contributor Katherine Deves Morgan wrote on X. “Five blokes on the winning women’s soccer team. Girls were threatened with fines if they forfeited. What a joke.”

“Been angry for years now – the unfairness is off the charts. I will say it again – keep women’s sports female. It is not the place for any (failed) male athletes,” tennis legend Martina Navratilova added.

Flying Bats FC president Jen Peden responded to the criticism.”Trans women belong in the women’s competition because that is the gender with which they identify,” Peden said.

“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 marginalized members of the LGBTQIA+ community,” she continued.

“We are a club that values our cisgender and transgender players equally. We strongly support the Australian Human Rights Commission’s guidelines for the inclusion of transgender and gender diverse people in sport,” Peden 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.”

The league operates within the existing legal framework, including anti-discrimination legislation, and takes pride in developing inclusive policies for the sport in Australia.

The victory of the Flying Bats FC has ignited a debate about the inclusion of transgender athletes in women’s sports and highlights the ongoing discussions around gender diversity and inclusion in sports.

The situation has raised questions about the transparency and fairness of competition, leading to a broader conversation about the rights of transgender athletes to participate in sports based on their gender identity.

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