Urban Rec Western Sydney Sports Club
Gender Identity Inclusion, Rule Updates, Pride Round 2023
Feb 17

Gender Identity Inclusion, Rule Updates, Pride Round 2023

February 17, 2023 - one year ago

Urban Rec is proud to announce that we have recently updated our gender identity options across member profiles, the registration process, and rules within our club. 

While Urban Rec has always been LGBTQI+ friendly, the functionality of being able to offer places on team rosters for those that don’t identify as man or woman, has not been possible…Till now. 

We believe that all Australian’s should have access to social sports. We welcome all people, of any gender identity to join Urban Rec and benefit from the physical and mental health benefits that come with playing social sport. Urban Rec aims to provide a supportive and inclusive space for everyone, now and always. 

HERE ARE THE SMALL, BUT IMPORTANT CHANGES

  1. Players can select a gender identity other than man or woman when creating their member profile.
  2. Individual teams will have space available on team rosters for people who are non-binary, transitioning etc. 
  3. Our sports rules have been updated to remove references to gender advantages or disadvantages in the context of scoring, defending, or positioning.
  4. Urban Rec has become a member of Pride in Sport, a national not-for-profit sporting inclusion program specifically designed to assist sporting organisations at all levels. 

WHY ARE WE NOT MAKING ALL LEAGUES OPEN? I.E. NO GENDER REQUIREMENTS

Urban Rec has long been at the forefront of efforts to drive gender equity in the social sports environment. While many of our counterparts in the adult recreation space claim to be facilitating mixed-gender environments, there are very few other adult recreation providers that are facilitating exclusively mixed-gender leagues with the minimum inclusion requirements that we have long held to be fundamental to our programs.

All sports need to have a minimum gender identity requirement. Without gender identity requirements within a mixed sports environment we would unfortunately take away the equity of women, men and non-binary individuals having access to play in a mixed-gender, social, fun and fair environment. Simply stated, we would become a male dominated sports club. 

MORE ON RULE UPDATES

  • Our sports rules have been updated to remove references to gender advantages or disadvantages in the context of scoring, defending, or positions. 
  • Where appropriate physical advantages and disadvantages have been taken into consideration.
  • These include Touch Football, Basketball, Softball, Flag Gridiron and Netball.
  • These rules are now live within your member dashboard and on our website.

ACKNOWLEDGE THESE CHANGES WITH URBAN REC’S FIRST PRIDE ROUND

  • Pride Round is happening nationally within all Urban Rec cities, Feb 20 till 24, 2023.
  • To acknoledge all of our LGBTQI+ community as well as the additional announcements and updates.
  • We welcome players to wear some rainbow to show their support.
  • In Sydney, Our Party Cart will be attending a league each night with support from our sponsor, Young Henrys.
  • Donate what you can for a sausage and a beer towards Access Social Sports, and PrideCup.
  • What is Access Social Sports? Check out our instagram post here.

WHAT DO URBAN REC MEMBERS NEED TO DO?

Get to know your updated rules, continue to play with kindness and fairness. If you have a question about someone's gender identity before, during or after a game, talk to your Event Host. Urban Rec has zero tolerance for homophopia, biphobia and transphobia. 

These updates are new for our club and an ever-progressive process for us all. We will not get this right the first time, and we do not pretend to have it all figured out, but we promise we are trying our best. Through our membership with Pride in Sport and the input from our LGBTQI+ community, we will continue to update and evolve as necessary. Our commitment is enduring. 

If you have any questions or suggestions about the policy or updates, please contact [email protected] 

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Netball experience life changing for Emma Bastable
Feb 15

Netball experience life changing for Emma Bastable

February 15, 2023 - one year ago

Emma Bastable (far right) pictured with her teammates. 

By Renae Smyth

Transgender netballer Emma Bastable first started playing in the Urban Rec Netball league in Sydney’s inner suburb of Redfern in 2018. 

A mixed social competition that Emma signed up for as an individual on a whim. A daunting step to take, given she didn’t know her teammates or the rules of the game.

Although, having played cricket, rugby and soccer growing up, Emma knew the rules and friendships would come later. So, for now, she focused on the fun and the opportunity to switch off from her days, working as a solicitor.

Taking more than eight years away from playing any sport, Emma admits there was always a concern in the back of her mind. An uneasy feeling that she may not be accepted by her team or the club.

“I was worried about the transgender stuff at first, I think that was one of the reasons why I hadn’t played sport for so long,” she said.

To her surprise, her gender was never a problem.

“It was totally not a big deal. Everyone accepted me and validated me in my gender. It was just never an issue,” she said.

Emma felt the support of fellow teammates and instantly felt welcome. Pulling on the GK bib for ‘The Flinstones’ felt right.

“I got really lucky in a way. I met a group of people that I really liked,” she said.

“The team was super supportive. I told them that I had never played netball before, so they were giving me tips and helping me along the way.”

Emma now plays multiple nights a week in five different teams and can’t imagine life without the game.  

“Netball has become such a huge part of my life and a big part of my identity.

“Having positive experiences over and over again has just made it easy to slowly start to play in more leagues and progress my abilities.

“I don’t know what I would be doing with a lot of my time if I hadn’t had such a good experience [with netball].”

The community netballer has thrown her support behind Netball Australia’s recent announcement of policy guidelines for inclusion of transgender and gender diverse athletes in the elite competitions.

“Diverse representation at higher levels is just so important for making everyone feel welcome in the leagues and in the teams.

“Kids look up to high-profile players and if they decide to pursue netball more seriously as a career, it is comforting to know that it’s an option for them. An option for everyone.”

To Emma, knowing the netball community has provided pathways and opportunities for others like her within the sport brings a level of acceptance, but hopes to see more engagement at the grassroots level.

“It’s really important for transgender people to be accepted and given the opportunity and to know that someone out there has there back.

“It takes a lot to take that first step of signing up for a community sport and if you have a bad experience, it could be enough to disincentivise you to stop playing sport all together.

“Encouraging  transgender people to participate in community sport goes a long way to changing attitudes and normalising acceptance of us and showing that we’re just out there doing our own thing and living a normal life.”

Emma will be a voice within the transgender and gender diverse community that will work with Netball Australia and netball member organisations as they develop policy guidelines for inclusion of transgender and gender diverse netballers at a community level.

Taking that brave step onto the court is an experience that Emma believes has changed her life and the person she has become, very much for the better.

“I’ve made so many friends through netball, friends that I never would have met before if I wasn’t playing netball,” she said.

“It allows me to be a better person and live a better life than I otherwise would be.”

For the original post from Netball Australia: https://netball.com.au/news/netball-experience-life-changing-emma-bastable 

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