Inclusion of Trans and Gender Diverse Students and Staff in Sport and Recreation Guidelines


In line with Te Ara Tautika The Equity Policy, these guidelines encourage a mana enhancing approach towards participation in University sport and recreation. They aim to ensure that trans and gender diverse staff and student participation is:

  • Equitable
  • Without discrimination
  • Based on their gender identity or expression.


Unlawful discrimination against a trans or gender diverse person because of their gender identity is prohibited under New Zealand legislation.

Discrimination can be direct discrimination or indirect discrimination, and unlawful even if there is no intention to discriminate.

The Sport and Recreation (S&R) team is committed to taking action to ensure equitable participation and success in sport and recreation for all staff and students, including those who are trans or gender diverse. In particular, given the:

  • Many benefits that participation can provide
  • Importance of manaakitanga, fair play and respect
  • Value of sport and recreation that is safe, and open to everyone.

These guidelines seek to align with, and reflect, legislative reforms that are based on self-identification – that is, how a person identifies rather than eligibility criteria (Births, Deaths, Marriages and Relationships Act 2021).



Trans and gender diverse student and staff participation in S&R activities should be:

  • Equitable
  • Based on their self-identified gender identity or expression
  • Without discrimination based on their gender identity or expression
  • Irrespective of the gender marker on identification documents
  • Without requirements to undertake any form of gender affirming medical interventions - including hormone therapy or surgeries
  • Without requirements to disclose information beyond that asked of all students and staff.

Some external sport events may enforce international federation or other rules with stringent eligibility criteria. The S&R team will not impose requirements that are contrary to these guidelines for its sporting events or competitions.

Name, pronouns, and gender markers

Trans and gender diverse students and staff may use the name, pronoun, and gender marker that matches their gender identity and/or expression.

S&R managers, staff, referees, coaches, and sports administrators should, where possible, ensure that names, pronouns, titles, and gender markers are accurate in documentation and systems. This includes team lists, rosters, and employment documents. If mistakes are made, including in conversations, apologise promptly and then move on. This avoids drawing further attention to the incorrect name, pronoun, title or gender marker.

Sports uniforms

Best practice is to ensure that all-gender uniform options are available for sports teams.

Where gender-specific sports uniforms exist, people should be able to choose to wear the uniform that they feel most comfortable in. This includes players, referees, coaches, and administrators.

Many trans and gender diverse students will use clothes, binders and other aids to enable their body to more closely match their gender identity or expression. These aids are hard to conceal if they are required to wear a close-fitting sports uniform or swimming costume. Loose fitting non-gendered options can be a better alternative. For swimming, this might include rash suits, rash shirts and longer swimming shorts.

Toilets, showers and changing rooms

All people, including trans and gender diverse students and staff, may use toilets, showers and changing rooms at the Recreation Centre, or any of its facilities, that are appropriate to their gender identity and/or expression.

Privacy and safety are important for everyone using toilets, showers or changing rooms. Private toilet and shower cubicles, including all-gender options, provide the greatest level of privacy and safety for trans and gender diverse people.

All-gender toilets on campus.

Accommodation when travelling for sport

Shared accommodation can raise significant privacy and safety concerns for trans and gender diverse people, given the high level of discrimination and harassment they face.

If S&R sports teams have shared accommodation, trans and gender diverse students and staff members should have the option of proposing:

  • Who they would be comfortable sharing a room with
  • Whether they require a single room. 

In instances where S&R has a policy of providing single room accommodation for people with specific needs, this should also be an option for trans and gender diverse players or staff.

Respect, safety and equity

All members of the University community should:

  • Comply with the Addressing Bullying, Harassment and Discrimination Policy and Procedures, and ensure that they do not harass, bully or discriminate against trans or gender diverse people because of their gender identity or expression
  • Use respectful and inclusive language and terminology when discussing trans people’s participation as players, coaches, or referees – or when interacting with them – and encourage others to do so
  • Where it is safe, speak up or talk to S&R staff about any taunting or harassment from spectators or opponents during competition – including when it is based on a person’s gender identity or expression
  • Be considerate of personal information, including whether someone is trans or gender diverse and when discussing gender identity or expression.

S&R coaches and staff members should:

  • Create an inclusive and supportive environment
  • Educate players about inclusive language and the University’s guidance regarding the participation of trans and gender diverse people in sports and recreation
  • Be prepared to talk with parents /players about trans and gender diverse people’s participation in sports and recreation
  • Anticipate and address trans and gender diverse players’ concerns and requests proactively
  • Talk to the S&R team and/or the opposing coach if you are aware of discriminatory or harassing behaviour from opposing teams, spectators or teammates based on the perceived or actual gender identity or expression of a player, coach, or referee.

Complaints resolution

The University strongly encourages that people take appropriate action, where they believe the rights and responsibilities in these guidelines have been breached.

Staff or players may seek assistance from an S&R manager or staff member.

A complaint can be made by:

Individuals who witness another person being discriminated against, bullied or harassed, sexually harassed, vilified or victimised can report incidents to the University and obtain support.


Gender identity

Means a person’s internal sense of being a woman, a man, something other, in between or agender. A person’s gender identity may or may not correspond with their sex assigned at birth.

Gender diverse

Refers to people who do not identify as exclusively a woman or man, whose gender identity and/or gender expression is outside the feminine/masculine binary. Some alternative terms used are genderqueer, gender non-conforming or non-binary. Where S&R teams, activities, or facilities only provide binary male or female options, any trans and gender diverse people may choose the option that better matches and accommodates their gender identity and/or expression.

Gender expression

Means the external presentation of one’s gender. This can be expressed through one’s name, clothing, behaviour, hairstyle, voice or any other way. A person’s gender expression may or may not conform to socially defined behaviours and characteristics typically associated with being either solely masculine or feminine.

Transgender, or trans

Refers to someone whose gender identity does not exclusively align with their sex assigned at birth. This term is often used as an umbrella term, recognising that people may describe themselves in many ways including by using indigenous terms.

Indigenous terms to Aotearoa / New Zealand

Include tāhine for transgender, whakawahine for trans women and tangata ira tane for trans men. Many Māori trans people identify with the umbrella indigenous term takatāpui that encompasses all Māori of diverse gender identities, sex characteristics, or sexualities.

Pacific cultural terms used by trans feminine people, including in New Zealand

Include fa’afafine (Samoa and Tokelau), fakaleiti / leiti (Tonga), fakafifine (Niue), akava’ine (Cook Islands), vakasalewalewa (Fiji), palopa (Papua New Guinea) and mahu (Tahiti and Hawaii). One Pacific cultural term for trans masculine people is fa’afatama (Samoa). Fa’atamaloais also sometimes used as an alternative term.

Trans and gender diverse

Are used together in these guidelines as a broad umbrella term that includes people whose gender identity and/or expression differs from their sex assigned at birth. It recognises that not all gender diverse people identify as trans and that many trans people may identify as male or female rather than as gender diverse.

Transitioning or gender affirmation

Refers to steps taken by trans or gender diverse people to affirm their gender. This process and level of change sought is different for every trans or gender diverse person. Transition steps may be social, legal and/or medical. For example, a trans person may change the type of clothes they wear, their hairstyle, or the pronoun they use, to match their gender. Legal steps could include changing one’s name or gender on official documents. For some people, transitioning involves medical treatment, such as hormones and/or surgeries, to change one’s body to match one’s gender.