New gender-neutral spaces are redefining the gender norms as The University of WA promotes on LGBTQI+ inclusion in sport, with a survey revealing 30 per cent of students felt excluded.
UWA Sport inclusions manager Tara Schwarze said the results from the annual survey, completed in early 2021, showed the need for the university to join the nationwide Pride in Sport LGBTQI+ index..
“All-gender spaces is definitely an area we want to explore,” Ms Schwarze said.
“Particularly in sport, we are looking at our venues and asking how we can make them more inclusive.”
Pride in Sport national program manager Beau Newell said a 2020 survey for LGBTQ inclusion revealed Aussies are open to create gender diverse spaces in sporting venues, which means that a person does not need a particular gender or identity to use the space.
“Over 83 per cent of people in Australian sports are happy to have all-gender bathrooms,” Mr Newell said.
“Assuming that there will still be male and female bathrooms, people are comfortable to have this.”
The index will measure and compare how inclusive a sporting organisations facility are across the nation and critically observe how UWA goes about designing or upgrading new spaces.
Australia is among the most inclusive nation on a global scale, however, Mr Newell says there are large gaps between the level of inclusion in corporate spaces versus sport scenes.
“Sport as a whole is around 5 to 10 years behind the corporate world,” he said.
Mr Newell says to truly reflect Australia and its community spirit, the sporting sector needs to focus their policies and regulations on gender inclusion.
“In Australia, we are a sport centric nation and it is at the core of our communities,” Mr Newell said.
Ms Schwarze says although UWA Sport have supported inclusion initiatives in the past such as using pronouns, they need to strengthen their relationship with the LBGTQIA+ community.
“We have acted more behind the scenes,” She adds.
“We believe this membership will guide us in the right direction and give us the intel to do better, when perhaps we don’t even know what we can do.”
The minister for Sport and Recreation in WA was contacted for comment but did not respond.