Hannah Mouncey

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Hannah Mouncey
Personal information
Born (1989-10-21) 21 October 1989 (age 34)
Nationality Australian
Height 188 cm (6 ft 2 in)
Playing position Pivot
Club information
Current club Canberra Handball Club
Number 23
Senior clubs
Years Team
2009–2019, 2021–present
Canberra Handball Club
Melbourne Handball Club
National team 1
Years Team Apps
Australia men's team 22
Australia women's team 11 (51)
1 National team caps and goals correct
as of 11 February 2023

Hannah Mouncey (born 21 October 1989) is an Australian national squad handball player who also plays Australian rules football. Mouncey represented Australia in men's handball before transitioning. She has been the subject of controversy over her eligibility to participate in women's competitions. Mouncey debuted with the Australia women's national handball team at the 2018 Asian Women's Handball Championship and competed again at the 2022 Asian Women’s Championships held in Incheon and Seoul, South Korea.[1]

In Handball, Mouncey is a three-time Australian national champion, having won national club titles with Melbourne Handball Club in 2018 and Canberra Handball Club in 2021, and winning the Australian National Championship with the Victorian State Team in 2018. She is also a two-time Oceania Champion, having won the event with Australia in 2012 and 2014. Mouncey is the only athlete in the world to have represented their country both pre– and post–gender transition at senior level in any sport.[citation needed]

Men's handball[edit]

Mouncey commenced her handball career after moving to Canberra in 2009, playing handball for the Canberra Handball Club in the Australian Capital Territory.[2] She is a past president of Handball ACT.[3]

Mouncey played 22 games with the Australian men's national handball team, debuting in the 2012 Oceania Handball Championship against New Zealand.[2] Mouncey continued to represent Australia at the 2013 World Men's Handball Championship, where she top scored for Australia with four goals against the eventual 2013 World Champions, Spain, and despite her youth and relative inexperience was an integral of the Australian side, starting most games and playing a central role in defence.[4][5]

Mouncey also represented Australia at the 2014 Oceania Championships in Auckland, the 2015 Emerging Nations tournament held in Kosovo, as well as the 2015 Asian qualifying tournament preceding the 2016 Summer Olympics. During this time she took on a more defensive role for the team, particularly at the 2015 Olympic qualifying tournament.

Mouncey was known for playing through injury during her time with the Australian men’s team. She competed at the World Championships with a broken wrist suffered before the tournament, a torn meniscus and posterior cruciate ligament at the Emerging Nations tournament in Kosovo, and fractured an eye socket in Australia’s second match at the 2015 Olympic Qualifying Tournament against Iraq. Mouncey never missed a game due to injury.[6]


Mouncey decided to transition while in Qatar to compete in a 2016 Summer Olympics qualifying tournament,[7] and began hormone therapy in November 2015.[8] She provided news of her decision to her mother while still in Qatar, prior to informing other friends and family, and publicly identified as a woman in May 2016.[8]

Women's handball[edit]

International Olympic Committee's guidelines are for 12 months of hormone therapy before a trans woman can compete in women's competition,[8] but Mouncey's testosterone levels were well below the required levels of 10 nmol/L by July 2016.[8] Mouncey hoped to play in women's competition in October 2016, and to be selected in Australia women's national handball team.[8] Her request to play for the ACT representative team in October 2016 was refused by the Australian Handball Federation, citing insurance concerns because she was still three weeks short of the IOC guideline of 12 months of hormone therapy.[6]

On 27 May 2018, Mouncey scored three goals for Melbourne Handball Club in their win over University of Queensland Handball Club for the 2018 Oceanian Open Club Championship.[9]

In April 2018, Mouncey began training with the Australia women's national handball team in anticipation of the International Handball Federation clearing her to play in the 2018 Asian Women's Handball Championship in Kumamoto, Japan.[10][11] Mouncey scored four goals in her first international game with the Australia women's team, a 24–32 loss to Kazakhstan on 30 November 2018.[12][13] Mouncey played all six games and scored 23 goals as the Australians finished fifth, qualifying for the 2019 World Women's Handball Championship.[14] She was not selected to play at World Championships.[15] Mouncey stated that this was due to some of the team being uncomfortable sharing the showers and change room with her, but this was denied by Handball Australia.[16][17]

For the Australian Open Club Championships in beach handball, Mouncey strengthened the women's national team of American Samoa, which competed in the tournament as a club team, and took second place with them.[18]

Mouncey returned to play with the Canberra Handball Club in 2021, winning the National Club Championship for the second time, after first claiming the title with Melbourne Handball Club in 2018. In the 2021 edition, Mouncey played primarily as a left back and was named the tournament's most valuable player, as well as being the tournament's top goal scorer.

In 2022 Mouncey again played for Canberra Handball Club, which this time claimed the silver medal, going down to Sydney University Handball Club in the final.

Mouncey made a return to the Australian women’s team in November 2022 at the 2022 Asian Women’s Handball Championship, where she scored 28 goals from five games in a team where 13 of the 16 squad members were making their international debuts.

Australian football[edit]

Although the 2018 AFL Women's season did not start until well beyond the 12 month IOC guideline, Mouncey's nomination for the 2017 AFL Women's draft was declined based on the Victorian Equal Opportunity Act allowing gender discrimination "if strength, stamina or physique is relevant."[19] Mouncey's testosterone levels had remained far below the IOC limit, and the Australian Football League (AFL) had indicated they would use IOC guidelines on transgender players.[20] Mouncey previously played for the Ainslie Football Club in the 2017 AFL Canberra women's season.[citation needed] The AFL indicated that she could play for Ainslie in 2018, and could nominate for the 2018 AFL Women's draft.[21][20][22] In response, the Ainslie Football Club coach and president both stated to the media that there had been no concerns about Mouncey's strength, stamina and physique in the 2017 AFL Canberra women's competition.[21][23]

The late decision to exclude Mouncey left the AFL open to criticism from the public and the media,[24][25] and the AFL Players Association called for clarification from the AFL on the eligibility of transgender players.[26][27][28] There was confusion about whether the AFL had authority to approve Mouncey to play in other Australian football leagues in 2018, or whether their approval was necessary, contrasting with both the earlier indication that this would be acceptable and Mouncey's participation in 2017.[29] In December 2017, Mouncey decided to move to Melbourne to advance her football career. At the time, Mouncey had been homeless for almost a year due to mental health issues, and saw football as her most likely avenue for stable accommodation and employment.[30][31] Fairfax Media listed the denial of Mouncey's nomination as one of year's top 10 sports stories in Canberra.[32]

In a statement on 13 February 2018, the AFL supported Mouncey's request to play state league Australian rules football, such as VFL Women's (VFLW), and stated that the decision to deny her entry into the AFL Women's draft was only for 2017. According to Mouncey, no specific concern or reason for her ineligibility to play in the AFLW competition as opposed to state leagues has ever been provided by the AFL to her, and she states she first found out about the AFL decision to exclude her from the draft through the media.

Prior to the decision, the most common view in the media was that the AFL would let her play in the AFLW. During this period Mouncey received heavy personal criticism publicly on social media and in the traditional media, but received support from sports personalities Russell Greene, Shane Warne, Candice Warner and Jonathan Brown.

Mouncey has stated that she knew ahead of the draft that she was going to be selected by either Collingwood or the Western Bulldogs had she been allowed to nominate. Mouncey said she believed the Western Bulldogs would have taken her earlier in the draft than Collingwood. Mouncey had also trialled with the Melbourne Demons, however they were to pass on Mouncey in the draft as they deemed her too slow and lacking in endurance for their game style.[33] AFL Victoria later confirmed, after she began training with Darebin Falcons, that Mouncey would play in the 2018 VFL Women's season.[34][35] This was the first time that the AFL had agreed for an openly transgender woman to play at that level.[36]

Mouncey debuted for Darebin in round 1 of the 2018 VFLW season, kicking a goal while playing in the ruck and at full-forward in a lop-sided loss against the Northern Territory Football Club.[37][38]

Mouncey ended the season second in VFLW goal-kicking behind Darcy Vescio. After playing primarily at full forward for the early part of the season, Mouncey moved to centre half forward for the majority of the VFLW season because of her mobility in that position. Mouncey was controversially left out of the VFLW team of the year despite leading the competition's goal-kicking from the second round to the final round of the season, and being in the Darebin Falcons best players seven times in fourteen games.[39][40] On 9 September 2018, Mouncey announced that she would not nominate for the 2018 AFL Women's draft, while publicly releasing health and fitness records as evidence that she was eligible under the AFL's policies for nomination of trans women.[41]


  1. ^ Larsson, Jonathan (3 December 2018). "Swap national teams – from men to women". Expressen (in Swedish). Retrieved 7 December 2018.
  2. ^ a b Page, Fleta (17 June 2012). "Mouncey to make his debut for Australia". Canberra Times. Fairfax Media. Retrieved 20 December 2017.
  3. ^ "2017 Board Elected at ACT Handball's AGM". Handball ACT. 30 March 2017. Archived from the original on 18 February 2018. Retrieved 20 December 2017.
  4. ^ "Statistics". 23rd IHF Mens World Championship. Archived from the original on 21 June 2013. Retrieved 20 December 2017.
  5. ^ Dargel, Jorge (21 December 2018). "He played the Men's World Cup in 2013 and could play the Women's six years later". MARCA. Retrieved 22 December 2018.
  6. ^ a b Gusmaroli, Danielle (16 October 2016). "Hannah Mouncey: Trans handball player sidelined over height fears". Daily Telegraph. Herald Sun. Retrieved 31 December 2017.
  7. ^ "Handball men in Olympic qualifier". 12 November 2015. Retrieved 31 December 2017.
  8. ^ a b c d e Polkinghorne, David (30 July 2016). "Hannah Mouncey hopes to play for Australian women's handball team after transitioning from a man". Canberra Times. Retrieved 31 December 2017.
  9. ^ "Melbourne HC W vs UQ HC Women – Final – Handball Victoria". Handball VIC. 27 May 2018. Retrieved 27 May 2018.
  10. ^ Crothers, Joanna (26 May 2018). "Banned by AFLW, transgender athlete sets her sights on handball glory". ABC News. Retrieved 27 May 2018.
  11. ^ Shivaraman, Naomi (8 October 2018). "Transgender footballer Hannah Mouncey says the AFL 'never wanted' her to play". www.9news.com.au. Retrieved 8 October 2018.
  12. ^ "Australia live scores, results, fixtures, Australia W v Japan W live". flashscore.com. Retrieved 30 November 2018.
  13. ^ "17th Asian Women's Championship Australia v Kazakhstan match report" (PDF). japanhandball2019.com. Retrieved 30 November 2018.
  14. ^ Gillen, Nancy (8 December 2018). "Australia qualify for 2019 IHF World Championships with fifth-place finish at Women's Asian Handball Championships". insidethegames.biz. Retrieved 8 December 2018.
  15. ^ Calonge, Lorenzo (4 December 2019). "La transgénero que se quedó sin Mundial femenino seis años después de disputar el masculino". El País (in Spanish). Retrieved 6 December 2019.
  16. ^ ""People will do what's easy over what's right": Hannah Mouncey speaks out". Star Observer. 7 December 2019. Retrieved 11 December 2019.
  17. ^ "Atleta transexual falha competição porque colegas não a querem no balneário". SIC Notícias (in European Portuguese). 5 December 2019. Retrieved 12 December 2019.
  18. ^ "American Samoa Women's Beach Handball Team wins silver in Australia". www.samoanews.com. 14 March 2019. Retrieved 11 July 2021.
  19. ^ Tucker, Prof. Ross (23 October 2017). "The greatest divide in sport today". Times Live. Retrieved 31 December 2017.
  20. ^ a b O'Halloran, Kate (17 October 2017). "AFL cannot play equality card when denying transgender footballer Hannah Mouncey". The Guardian. Retrieved 31 December 2017.
  21. ^ a b "Ainslie coach Chris Rourke surprised at AFL barring transgender player Hannah Mouncey from AFLW draft". Brisbane Times. 17 October 2017. Retrieved 31 December 2017.
  22. ^ Dutton, Chris (8 November 2017). "Transgender footballer Hannah Mouncey answers questions about her transition". The Age. Fairfax Media. Retrieved 20 January 2018.
  23. ^ Helmers, Caden (17 October 2017). "'We're all about inclusion': Ainslie throws support behind Hannah Mouncey". Canberra Times. Retrieved 31 December 2017.
  24. ^ Hinds, Richard (20 October 2017). "Hannah Mouncey deserved more than the AFL's policy on the run". ABC News. Retrieved 31 December 2017.
  25. ^ Blair, Alex (6 November 2017). "Transgender footballer Hannah Mouncey speaks out". News.com.au. Retrieved 11 January 2018.
  26. ^ McGowan, Marc (17 October 2017). "AFL blocks transgender footballer from AFLW - AFL.com.au". AFL.com.au. Retrieved 31 December 2017.
  27. ^ "Statement: Hannah Mouncey's draft eligibility". AFLPA. 17 October 2017. Retrieved 31 December 2017.
  28. ^ "Transgender footballer ruled ineligible for AFLW draft". ABC News. 17 October 2017. Retrieved 31 December 2017.
  29. ^ Olle, Sarah (18 December 2017). "Transgender athlete Hannah Mouncey's bid to play local footy in Canberra left in limbo". Fox Sports. Retrieved 31 December 2017.
  30. ^ Dutton, Chris (12 December 2017). "Transgender football Hannah Mouncey stuck in AFL limbo as officials delay approval". The Age. Retrieved 31 December 2017.
  31. ^ Helmers, Caden (5 January 2018). "Hannah Mouncey keeps on fighting despite homelessness, mental health toll". Canberra Times. Retrieved 6 January 2018.
  32. ^ Tiernan, Eamonn (30 December 2017). "Canberra's biggest 10 sport stories of 2017: Lealiifano's comeback, Bling salutes and Mouncey rejected". The Canberra Times. Retrieved 3 January 2018.[permanent dead link]
  33. ^ "AFL clears transgender footballer Hannah Mouncey to play in state women's leagues". ABC News. 13 February 2018.
  34. ^ "Transgender footballer Hannah Mouncey to play VFLW this season". Herald Sun. 4 April 2018. Retrieved 7 April 2018.
  35. ^ Mouncey, Hannah (1 May 2018). "Damned if I do, damned if I don't". PlayersVoice. Retrieved 1 May 2018.
  36. ^ "Transgender first for Australian football". BBC News. 13 February 2018. Retrieved 13 February 2018.
  37. ^ Hinchliffe, Joe (5 May 2018). "Game-day controversy at VFLW had nothing to do with Hannah Mouncey". The Age. Retrieved 5 May 2018.
  38. ^ "Transgender footballer Hannah Mouncey's VFLW debut a success". Herald Sun. 5 May 2018. Retrieved 5 May 2018.
  39. ^ Tinning, Tennyson (25 August 2018). "Vescio steals show in VFLW rout". carltonfc.com.au. Retrieved 29 August 2018.
  40. ^ Black, Sarah (10 September 2018). "AFLW: Duffin takes out top VFLW honour". AFL.com.au. Retrieved 11 September 2018.
  41. ^ Ryan, Melissa Coulter (9 September 2018). "Hannah Mouncey withdraws AFLW draft nomination, hits out at AFL". The Age. Retrieved 10 September 2018.