Transsexual eyes Aussie Rules

BY JILL STARK
Last updated 10:46 07/06/2009
Fairfax Media
WILL POWER: Will, who had a sex change operation two years ago, hopes to play Aussie Rules football next year.

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An Aussie Rules fan is about to become the Australia's first transsexual to play competitive football.

Will, 25, was born a woman and had a sex change two years ago. Since then the Collingwood supporter has been desperate to play football.

He has been spurred on by former Magpies captain Nathan Buckley who told him, "Don't be afraid to be yourself."

Will, who did not want to use his full name, recently met with Victorian Country Football League president Glenn Scott, who told him he could play, but for insurance purposes he would have to legally change the gender on his birth certificate to male.

Mr Scott promised to educate players on transgender issues in a bid to ensure he was not vilified.

Will, 25, hopes to play in the Bendigo Football League and says he does not want special treatment.

"I'm just an ordinary guy who wants to play football, just with slightly different circumstances of how I came to be a guy," he said.

The move has been backed by Buckley, who said he was "knocked over" by a "touching" letter from Will.

"It was like he was pouring his heart out to me and I felt compelled to let him know that I respected the fact that he trusted me with that stuff," Buckley said. "I just think it's tremendously courageous. Everyone should be encouraged to be themselves."

Will has had a double mastectomy and is taking hormones to deepen his voice and boost hair growth. However, he does not feel the technology is advanced enough to create a functioning penis.

Since the operation he has longed to play football."I thought, well, if fat blokes who are in their 40s are playing football, surely I can. The only thing stopping me is other people's prejudice."

Will expects to face some prejudice in his first game.

"There might be a bit of resentment there, particularly if I turned out to be better than one or two players," he joked. "They would probably hold that against me because they'd be thinking, 'God, he doesn't even have a penis and he can kick the ball better than me'."

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- The Age

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