‘People have a knack of making you feel excluded if they catch on to your difference’: Transgender experiences of exclusion in sports.
This is a research Article from the International Review for the sociology of sport.
While there is a growing literature in the field of gender, sexuality and sport, there is a dearth of research into the lived experiences of transgender people in sport. The present study addresses this research gap by exploring and analysing the accounts of transgender people in relation to their experiences of sport and physical activity. These are examined within the theoretical rubrics of social exclusion and minority stress theory. The findings from in-depth interviews
with 10 transgender persons are detailed. Four interconnected themes emerged from the interviewee accounts: the intimidating nature of the changing/locker room environment; the impact of alienating sports experiences at school; the fear of public space and how this drastically constrained their ability to engage in sport and physical activity; and the overall effects of being denied the social, health and wellbeing aspects of sport. The findings are discussed in relation to the distinctive quality of transgender exclusion, and the related distal and proximal stressors experienced by this particular minority group.
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Published in February 2013, this report was funded by the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister (OFMDFM) and the research was conducted by the Institute for Conflict Research (ICR). It is the first piece of research from Northern Ireland to specifically investigate the experiences of young people who experience gender distress and/or identify as transgender (aged 25 and under). The report highlights the numerous challenges that young transgender people and their families face in multiple spheres of their lives because of the widespread ignorance, prejudice and discrimination that continues to exist towards transgender people in Northern Ireland. It argues that service providers and policy makers need to take a proactive approach in order to erode the cultural inertia that is marginalising young transgender people and preventing many of them from reaching their full potential. Only by grasping the nettle can young people, their families, the voluntary sector and government agencies co-operate to make Northern Ireland a more inclusive society in which young trans people are able to participate freely without fear of reprisal.
Healthcare Issues for Transgender People living in Northern Ireland – Ruari-Santiago McBride, July 2011, Institute of Conflict Research.
‘The Luck of the Draw’. A Report on the Experiences of Trans Individuals reporting Hate Incidents in Northern Ireland – Ruari-Santiago McBride and Ulf Hansson, May 2010, Institute for Conflict Research.
Good practice guidelines for the assessment and treatment of adults with gender dysphoria – Produced by the Royal College of Psychiatrists, and published in Oct 2013, these are the guidelines currently in use in Northern Ireland. This report is only available online; to download a copy as a pdf file click the title of the report above. Or to access the document through the website of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, click here to go to their site.
This report makes a series of recommendations to ensure gender dysphoria patients get the best possible care. It covers the areas of hormone treatment, surgical interventions, speech and language therapy, and general medical care and aims to optimise the clinical care pathways for patients who may need to access several medical and allied health professionals.
Engendered Penalties: Transgender and Transsexual People’s Experiences of Inequality and Discrimination – Commissioned by the Equalities Review. Authors: Stephen Whittle, Lewis Turner and Maryam Al-Alami of Press for Change. This report is an analysis and summary of the results obtained from a mixed quantitative/qualitative approach research project collecting and analysing information on transgender and transsexual people’s experiences of inequality and discrimination in the UK. It outlines the levels of inequality and discrimination that trans people face. Access the report at www.theequalitiesreview.org.uk or by clicking above.
Transgender children: more than a theoretical challenge (Revised version 2012). By Natacha Kennedy, Goldsmiths College, University of London. Abstract: This paper suggests that a significant majority of transgender people become aware of their transgender identities at a very early age. As such most transgender children go through most, if not all, of their compulsory schooling feeling that they have a gender identity that is different from the one they are compelled to perform. Transgender children are characterised as “Non-apparent” and “Apparent” with the vast majority falling into the latter category. It is argued that the resultant long period of concealment and suppression can lead to problems. This paper presents an analysis of evidence suggesting that this is the case and considers the implications form the point of view of the way children understand, rationalise and act in these situations and make sense of the conflicting gender expectations. The consequent feelings of guilt and shame appear to represent significant problems for these children in terms of their underachievement in education and in other areas of their lives.