OUTInPerth – Teachers’ association delays conference that was to focus on trans exclusion in sport

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This article was originally published by the OUTInPerth. You can find the original article here.

The Australian Council for Health, Physical Education and Recreation (ACHPER) was set to make excluding transgender people from participating in sport the top issue for its upcoming conference.

Physical education teachers and associate professionals were due to meet at Murdoch University on Friday 21st June for a conference with the theme of “Celebrating Difference”.

Community members reached out to OUTinPerth to express their dismay the organisation that provides professional development to both primary and secondary teachers had selected retired researcher Professor Beth Hands to deliver the keynote address at the event.

Professor Hands is an Adjunct Senior Research Fellow at Notre Dame University and has spent decades researching movement and motor skills in sport but has more recently focused on advocating for rules against people who are transgender from taking part in sport based on their gender.

In 2002 she authored a paper alongside two other retired researchers that was critical of sport’s governing bodies which allow transgender women and girls to participate and complete in sporting events.

Her keynote address at the conference was titled” Women’s Sport and Transgender Inclusion: The Counter Biological Argument.  

OUTinPerth approached ACHPER WA regarding the decision to select Professor Hands to deliver the keynote and asked Murdoch University if the focus on excluding transgender participation aligned with their values of promoting inclusion.

Murdoch University quickly responded with a spokesperson telling OUTinPerth their sponsorship of the event should not be taken as endorsement of its content.

“While Murdoch University agreed to sponsor the ACHPER WA One Day Health and Physical Education Conference 2024 on the theme ‘Celebrating Difference’, the program for the conference has been determined by ACHPER WA and contains a variety of presentations and discussions on various topics.” the spokesperson said.  

“Murdoch University’s sponsorship of conferences does not imply endorsement of the views of any of the speakers at those conferences. 

“Murdoch University is committed to providing an inclusive, caring environment in which everyone can realise their potential and to protecting Free Speech and Academic Freedom. 

“We are engaging with the organisers to convey our expectations for the event.” the spokesperson said.

OUTinPerth never heard back from ACPER WA, but they have now announced the entire conference has been postponed. No date has been given for when the event might proceed.

Declaration: OUTinPerth’s co-editors Graeme Watson and Leigh Andrew Hill both work in the university sector alongside their work at OUTinPerth.

This article was originally published by the OUTInPerth. You can find the original article here.

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