Ann Arbor Ultimate (A2U) is instituting a gender inclusion policy in order to provide transparency about one way in which our organization aims to fulfill its vision of being a “socially welcoming community that values spirit and learning for players of all identities and experiences.” By creating this document now, and updating it annually, we aspire to hold ourselves and our community accountable to the following standards of inclusion.
While this policy specifically speaks to gender, we recognize that gender is not the defining characteristic of our players, whose identities are multifaceted, nor is gender the only identity category worth considering as we work towards being an inclusive community. We know that barriers to inclusion often occur at the intersection of multiple aspects of identity, such as race, age, socioeconomic status, etc., and we aim to be cognizant of these factors in drafting and upholding our gender inclusion policy.
Ann Arbor Ultimate recognizes that gender is not necessarily the same as the sex a person is assigned at birth, and that gender does not necessarily adhere to a binary system. We encourage our players to match up against whatever gender they feel most comfortable marking. Athletes are not required to disclose any other information (e.g. medical information about therapy or surgery) when selecting their gender matchups, nor do they need to justify their gender expression. We trust that all of our players will use integrity in choosing league divisions and matchups. We do ask that players select a preferred matchup category, but this can be changed by the player as needed.
As an organization, Ann Arbor Ultimate will
- Provide this policy to all of our constituents
- Include space on player profiles for players to identify their preferred gender matchup and their pronouns, which can be changed at any time
- Option to write in preferred pronouns that will be included when team captains download their roster for the season
- Select from preferred matchup options of “man” or “woman”
- No requirement for players to disclose their gender
- Structure our league offerings to allow players to play with many people of the same gender-matchup preference. This means striving for at least one mixed ultimate option each season (requiring a minimum of 3 men-matchup and 3 women-matchup players on the field at all times) as well as offering semi-regular open and women’s leagues.
- Systematically give priority to underrepresented genders in our community in the registration process for a select number of leagues
- Provide gender inclusion training for captains and board members
- Encourage league captains to have players share their pronouns in introduction circles with the stipulation that all players have the option of abstaining from sharing it they are not comfortable doing so
- Be attentive to gender-specific barriers to play in our league; for instance, in recognizing the frequent responsibility for women to be caretakers, we encourage and welcome them to bring their children to our events
- Consider representation in selecting players for leadership positions: captains, directors, treasurers, captains committee members
- Work with community members in the drafting and yearly revision of these guidelines
- Provide an anonymous space for people to share when they feel the inclusion policy is breached (see reporting form here) if they do not feel comfortable directly contacting league leadership and respond promptly to reported grievances
Our approach to gender and inclusion differs from WFDF (see policy here). However, we align with the current USAU standards (see policy here). Our athletes are able to choose how they participate based on their gender identity at that time, regardless of sex or state of transitioning. We trust and will rely on Spirit of the Game to avoid any abuse of this approach by a player merely to gain a competitive advantage on the field.
Q: Does this mean that it is never ok for there to be a matchup across genders? What if I want to matchup against my friend of another gender?
A: When it comes to deciding matchups, our league’s default policy is to first prioritize gender matchup preference and then to prioritize playing ability (e.g. split players on the field into woman-matchup and man-matchup and then decide matchups in the two separate groups). However, we recognize that there are situations where players are comfortable marking people of a different gender and would prefer to matchup based on ability. This should only occur when all players involved have made it explicitly clear that they are amenable to this setup.
Q: I’m nonbinary and don’t have a preference which gender I match. Do I have to choose a preferred match category?
A: We are asking people to choose a preferred matching category, in alignment with USAU’s policies for identifying an on-field preference. The matching preference you select is how we determine team makeup and access to gender-specific leagues.
Q: What do I do if I feel like someone is violating the gender inclusion policy, i.e. excluding me or another player based on gender identity or expression?
A: We hope that you feel comfortable talking to someone in league leadership about any possible issue, whether it is the captains of a particular game or the league directors. If you would prefer to remain anonymous, you can use our grievance form to inform us about the incident. We want to hear about potential violations, whether you report it immediately after you notice it occurring or later down the road.
Definition of Terms
- Gender: the socially-constructed roles, behaviors, and attributes which society associates with one sex.
- Gender identity: an individual’s deeply held sense or knowledge of their own gender.
- Gender expression: the manner in which an individual represents or expresses gender to others through behavior, outward appearance, activities, voice, mannerisms, etc.
- Sex: either of the two main categories (male and female) into which an individual is categorized based on reproductive function.
- Intersex: a general term used for a person born with reproductive or sexual anatomy that does not fit the typical definitions of female or male.
- Non-binary: a catch-all category for gender identities that are not exclusively masculine or feminine; identities which are outside the gender binary.
- Cisgender: a person whose gender identity aligns with the sex they were assigned at birth.
- Transgender/Trans: an individual whose gender identity differs from the sex they were assigned at birth. In order to align their bodies with their gender identity, some transgender individuals undergo gender affirmation treatment.
- Trans woman: a person who was assigned male sex at birth, but whose gender identity is female.
- Trans man: a person who was assigned female sex at birth, but whose gender identity is male.
- Gender affirmation treatment: a medically-supervised program of treatment to transition a person’s body to align with their gender identity through hormone therapy and/or surgery (historically referred to as “gender reassignment”).
If you have questions, concerns, advice, or recommendations about this inclusion policy or how our organization can work towards an inclusive community, please contact our board of directors at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our policy owes some of its language to similar policies created by organizations such as DiscNW, DiscNY and Bay Area Disc. We thank these leagues for creating inclusion policies that our community is able to learn and grow from.
Date Adopted: December 2020
Last Updated: December 18th, 2020