PHF UPDATES TRANSGENDER AND NON-BINARY INCLUSION POLICY
Policy Enhanced in Partnership with Athlete Ally and Chris Mosier
October 15, 2021 (Brooklyn, N.Y.) - The Premier Hockey Federation today announced an updated Transgender and Non-Binary Inclusion Policy that is effective immediately for the 2021-22 season. The federation’s policy was enhanced with consultation from Athlete Ally, a non-profit LGBTQI+ athletic advocacy group focused on making athletic communities more inclusive and less discriminatory, and Chris Mosier, a transgender hall of fame triathlete, All-American duathlete, 6-time member of Team USA, and the founder of TransAthlete.com.
“Transgender and non-binary athletes deserve equal opportunity to compete in the Premier Hockey Federation and we embrace our power and responsibility as leaders to make progressive change,” said PHF Commissioner Tyler Tumminia. “Thank you to Athlete Ally and Chris Mosier for your guidance and support during this evolutionary process by educating our members and helping to reshape our policy as part of the PHF’s ongoing commitment to inclusivity.”
“I had the opportunity to work on the first transgender inclusion policy for the league in 2016 and I’m thrilled to be a part of the process again, especially with an emphasis on including non-binary athletes who are too often erased from sport policy,” said Chris Mosier. “The PHF has clearly demonstrated its commitment to intentionally reviewing inclusion policies so they remain current and responsive to transgender and non-binary inclusion and sports more broadly.”
“The PHF leads by example in prioritizing the inclusion, health and safety of all athletes in the league. Fairness in hockey and the inclusion of transgender and non-binary athletes are not at odds with one another,” said Anne Lieberman, Athlete Ally’s Director of Policy & Programs. “We become a stronger sports community when we make sports welcoming and accessible for all.”
“Transgender and non-binary athletes play hockey for the same reasons my teammates and I do -- for the love of the game, for the community and camaraderie, and to challenge and push ourselves to the best of our abilities,” said Mallory Souliotis of the Boston Pride. “I am so proud to play for a league that is leading the way to ensure all athletes feel safe, welcomed and respected in hockey.”
The PHF announced the launch of its community partnership with Athlete Ally and Chris Mosier in June. In addition to consultation on PHF policy, Anne Lieberman, Athlete Ally’s Director of Policy & Programs, and Chris Mosier will provide virtual training on transgender and non-binary inclusion for PHF board of governors, executives and front office staff, coaches, and for players on all six teams. This training will raise individual awareness on complex issues, recognize opportunities to build inclusive policy frameworks, and to respectfully administer the league’s standards. They will also help players looking for additional support and training in using their platforms to support transgender and non-binary inclusion in sport.
The following is the complete policy excerpted from the PHF Bylaws and may also be viewed online at
PHF Transgender and Non-Binary Player Inclusion Policy
The Premier Hockey Federation (PHF) is committed to creating, sustaining, and supporting a culture of diversity, equity, and inclusion in women’s professional hockey. We believe transgender and non-binary athletes should have equal opportunity to participate in the PHF while maintaining competitive equity in women’s professional hockey. The well-being and safety of our athletes are of the utmost priority.
15.1 Guiding Principles
The PHF’s inclusion policy is guided by the following principles:
- Inclusion, not exclusion, is at the core of our values as a league. Fairness in hockey and the inclusion of transgender and non-binary athletes do not have to be at odds with one another.
- The PHF respects all backgrounds, experiences, and identities and assumes from the outset that athletes who compete under these rules are doing so to play hockey as who they truly are, not to gain a competitive advantage.
- The PHF acknowledges the history of sport governing bodies scrutinizing transgender and non-binary athletes through policy that emphasizes medical gatekeeping. The aim of this policy is to offer guidance and support for all athletes and to center athlete health and safety at all times.
- The PHF recognizes that gender expression and/or gender identity may or may not be the same as a person’s assigned sex and that gender identity exists beyond a binary system.
- Gender affirming surgery is not required for an individual to participate in athletic competition and is not required by the PHF under any circumstances.
- Each person is in control of the ways they present and express their gender, and as such, no person should have their identity disclosed without their express consent.
- The implementation and administration of this policy will respect every athlete’s privacy and human rights.
- The PHF recognizes the rapidly changing legal landscape for comprehensive nondiscrimination protections for transgender and non-binary people. Athletes are able to change identity documents and access gender-affirming care from earlier ages; as such, the PHF will maintain the privacy of all athletes.
- The PHF acknowledges the inherent challenges in creating inclusive non-binary sport policy within a binary structure. The PHF will continue to evolve as the landscape of non-binary sport policy also evolves.
- This policy may be modified, updated, or otherwise changed pending updated medical and expert guidance.
The PHF recognizes that the below words have complex meanings, and for the purposes of this document we are using general but operational definitions:
- Non-binary is a term used by some people who experience their gender identity and/or gender expression as falling between or outside the categories of man and woman.
- Transgender (trans) is an umbrella term for people whose gender identity differs from the sex they were assigned at birth.
- Cisgender (cis) describes a person whose gender identity aligns with the sex they were assigned at birth.
- Gender is the socially constructed roles, behaviors, and attributes that society associates with one’s sex assigned at birth.
- Gender Expression is the manner in which an individual represents or expresses gender to others through behavior, outward appearance, activities, mannerisms, etc.
- Gender Identity is an individual’s deeply held sense or knowledge of their gender.
- Sex Assigned at Birth is the sex that is assigned to an infant at birth, usually by a doctor or medical staff, based on the infant’s visible sex organs, including genitalia and other physical characteristics. Classifications made are most often male, female, or intersex.
15.3 Eligibility Guidelines
The PHF will use the below eligibility guidelines set out in this policy in order to ensure a fair and level playing field for all participants. The purpose of these guidelines is to create a clear pathway for the participation of both transgender and non-binary athletes in the PHF and to ensure the health, safety, and privacy of all athletes within the league are protected and respected.
- Transgender women are eligible to compete in the PHF if they have been living in their transgender identity for a minimum of two years.
- Transgender men are eligible to compete in the PHF, but if they are taking testosterone for transition-related purposes, such use must be pursuant to a therapeutic use exemption as determined by the PHF, in consultation with the athlete’s physicians and applicable medical experts.
- If an athlete who is currently playing in the PHF wants to come out as transgender, they are able to do so (see 15.4.2) as long as they are in compliance with the above eligibility guidelines.
- A non-binary athlete assigned female at birth who is not undergoing medical intervention with testosterone is eligible to compete in the PHF.
- A non-binary athlete assigned female at birth who is taking testosterone for transition-related purposes is eligible to compete in the PHF, but such use must be pursuant to a therapeutic use exemption as determined by the PHF in consultation with the athlete’s physicians and applicable medical experts.
- A non-binary athlete assigned male at birth is eligible to compete in the PHF if they have been living in their non-binary identity for a minimum of two years, as affirmed by the athlete in consultation with the PHF.
- If an athlete who is currently playing in the PHF wants to come out as non-binary, they are able to do so (see 15.4.2) as long as they are in compliance with the above eligibility guidelines.
All athletes are subject to the guidelines herein and other eligibility criteria of the PHF.
- An athlete may try out for the PHF based on their own determination of compliance with the Eligibility Guidelines. Athletes willing to disclose their identity may initiate the process by emailing the SVP of Hockey Operations Lisa Haley at email@example.com outlining their interest to participate in the PHF in accordance with the PHF Transgender and Non-Binary Player Inclusion Policy. Non-binary athletes assigned male at birth should also email firstname.lastname@example.org indicating their interest to participate in the PHF in accordance with the PHF Transgender and Non-Binary Player Inclusion Policy. The PHF may, upon receiving evidence that an athlete is not in compliance, ask for additional information.
- Athletes currently competing in the PHF who wish to make changes to their gender identity, name, pronoun, or other markers within the League should contact the PHF to assist in making these changes on official publications and listings.
- The PHF does not permit competition based on a fraudulent assertion of identity under any circumstances. If a player is found to be asserting a fraudulent identity, the PHF reserves the right to immediately remove a player from the league and, if necessary, take legal action.
All of the information and documents related to the eligibility of an athlete will be treated as highly confidential. The Parties agree that they will not at any time disclose that information or documents without the prior written consent of the person whose information is being disclosed unless required by law.
15.6 Your Roles and Responsibilities
All athletes are bound by the PHF Code of Conduct and this should be upheld at all times. However, specifically to this policy, all employees, members, volunteers, affiliate clubs, and Participants should:
- Treat all transgender and non-binary athletes, employees, and individuals, with dignity and respect;
- Welcome all transgender and non-binary individuals just as you would any other athlete, coach, employee, fan, volunteer, and/or member of the PHF community;
- Accept all in the gender they present; verification of their identity should be no more
than expected of any other person;
- Ask the league office for additional resources and education on transgender and non-binary inclusion;
- Respect the privacy of all transgender and non-binary individuals;
- Report any incidents of inappropriate or offensive behavior and language to the Office of the Commissioner.
The puck drops for the PHF season on Saturday, November 6, 2021, with all six teams in action to launch opening weekend including a rematch of the Isobel Cup final between the Boston Pride and Minnesota Whitecaps.
About Premier Hockey Federation (PHF)
The PHF is the leading home of professional women’s hockey in North America. Established in 2015 as the National Women’s Hockey League, the NWHL rebranded to become the PHF in 2021 and maintains the mission to provide strong role models and fuel the continued growth of the sport. The league is made up of the Boston Pride, Buffalo Beauts, Connecticut Whale, Metropolitan Riveters, Minnesota Whitecaps, and the Toronto Six who all compete annually for the Isobel Cup.
About Athlete Ally
Athlete Ally believes sport will change the world when it welcomes and empowers all people. As a leading national nonprofit working at the intersection of sport and LGBTQI+ equality, Athlete Ally works to end the structural and systemic oppression that isolates, excludes, and endangers LGBTQI+ people in sport. We educate individuals and institutions to understand obstacles to inclusion for LGBTQI+ people and how they can build an inclusive culture within their athletic communities. We work to ensure sport governing bodies, teams and leagues adopt policies that reflect the diversity of their constituents. We incubate athlete activism to advance LGBTQI+ equality in and through sport.
About TransAthlete and Chris Mosier
TransAthlete.com is the leading resource for the inclusion of transgender people in sport. Created in 2013, the site has tracked policies and best practices and compiled and generated resources for inclusion at all levels of play. The site was created by trailblazing athlete Chris Mosier, a Team USA athlete, national champion, and Olympic trials competitor, after his own experience as a transgender man transitioning in sport. Chris’ personal mission and the website’s goal is to make the sport more inclusive for everyone, regardless of gender identity or expression.