1st Edition

Gender Diversity and Sport Interdisciplinary Perspectives

Edited By Gemma Witcomb, Elizabeth Peel Copyright 2022
    216 Pages
    by Routledge

    216 Pages
    by Routledge

    This timely and urgent text presents cutting-edge research exploring the complexities of barriers to inclusive access to sport and physical activity, and discusses how sport, and society, can move forward beyond the gender binary, in both theory and practice.

    Sport is one of the most influential, powerful, and visible institutions upholding the gender binary, even as the number of people identifying as transgender and non-binary increases rapidly worldwide. With this rising visibility, societal pressure has been increasing for the equal acceptance of gender diverse people, but while gains have been made in many areas, the participation of intersex, trans and non-binary people in sport remains harshly contested. Bringing together a world-leading team of established and emerging scholars from the UK, USA, and Australia, this collection presents an interdisciplinary analysis of current issues related to the participation of gender diverse individuals in sport and physical activity. Engaging with psychological ideas around identity, prejudice and discrimination, and sports psychology and performance, authors examine evidence that the rules, regulations, and practices that surround physical activity participation – from elite sport to sport in schools, universities, and society at large – are grounded in heteronormative, cisgendered, and sexist practices which unfairly discriminate against gender diverse people.

    Also including analysis of personal accounts from non-binary and transgender athletes from a range of sports, this is fascinating and essential reading for education, health, and sports professionals who work with and support gender diverse children and adults, as well as academics and students in the fields of psychology, sport psychology, sociology, law, and sports science, and those participating in, and navigating, sport and physical activity spaces.

    Chapter 1. Introduction: Situating Gender Diversity and Sport Gemma L Witcomb & Elizabeth Peel, Loughborough University

    Chapter 2. Sex Segregation in Elite Sport: What’s the Problem? Jaime Schultz, Pennsylvania State University

    Chapter 3. Law and Regulatory Barriers to Increasing Inclusivity for Trans Athletes Seema Patel, Nottingham Trent University

    Chapter 4. "For Some People they’d Never be able to Tick all those Boxes": Exclusion of Trans and Non-binary Identities in University Sport Policy Catherine Phipps, Solent University

    Chapter 5. The Navigation of Non-binary Expression through Sports Kit Lauren Whitehouse, Catherine Armstrong & Jennifer Cooke, Loughborough University

    Chapter 6. Negotiating Gender Performances in Physical Education and School Sport: Gender Diversity and Inclusive Practices Hannah Kettley-Linsell, Rachel Sandford & Janine Coates, Loughborough University

    Chapter 7. Understanding How Voice Impacts on Trans Women’s Participation in Sport Lauryn Stewart, Jennifer Oates & Paul O’Halloran, La Trobe University

    Chapter 8. Representing Diverse Genders in Sports Media: The Discursive Production of Cisgenderism in the UK Press Gabriel Knott-Fayle, Elizabeth Peel & Gemma L Witcomb, Loughborough University

    Chapter 9. Ripping up the Rulebook: Challenges and Opportunities in Moving Beyond the Binary Hannah J. H. Newman & Gemma L Witcomb, Loughborough University



    Gemma Witcomb is a Senior Lecturer in Psychology at Loughborough University, UK, whose research centers around gender, identity, sexuality, and health and wellbeing.

    Elizabeth Peel is a Professor of Communication and Social Interaction at Loughborough University, UK. They have published widely in critical social and health psychology and are a Fellow of the British Psychological Society.

    "Gender Diversity and Sport is an essential addition to the field around non-conforming people in sport at all levels. Its interdisciplinary research, and acknowledgement of more work needed across disciplines is clear, and should be seen as a calling to those working in social sciences." - Rachael Bullingham, Senior Lecturer of Sport and Exercise, University of Gloucestershire, UK

    "This is a well constructed and timely book on a very important, and widely discussed, topic. Rather than focus on exclusionary practices, this book draws on a range of interdisciplinary perspectives that address inclusivity to explain the diverse relationship between gender and sport in the 21st century. The quality of it is in its accessibility to students, researchers, and all who seek to develop their knowledge in this research area." - Jamie Cleland, Senior Lecturer in Sport and Management, University of South Australia

    "This book provides the reader with a critical insight into the realm of gender diversity in sport; offering new perspectives beyond the polarised view and established ‘norm’ challenging what we thought we already knew. The chapters provide a well-considered introduction into the field for those how may be starting out in this area of interest as well as contributing to our understanding of the sector and the challenges sport faces to provide opportunities for everyone to be active. Congratulations to Witcomb and Peel in producing such a comprehensive consideration of environments; from educational experiences to the nuances of the legal system and the impact of the media. Gender Diversity and Sportis a must read for those not only interested in gender diversity but for everyone working within sport." - Helen Ives, Senior Lecturer in Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences, Brunel University London

    "Witcomb and Peel have delivered a provocative and contemporary book that will be a prized asset for anyone interested in gender and sport. It is an invaluable interdisciplinary contribution that enriches our understanding and practice of gender, diversity and inclusivity." - Brett Smith, Professor of Disability and Physical Activity and co-author of the Routledge International Handbook of Sport Psychology, Durham University, UK

    "Gender Diversity and Sport really gets to the heart of why inclusion and gender diversity in sport matters for trans and non-binary people. It’s accessible and relatable, and covers a rainbow of perspectives from social justice, human rights, university and school sport, to the ways gendered sports clothing can make gender diverse people feel excluded. Most importantly, the themes in this book are addressed sympathetically and draw on trans and non-binary people’s lived experiences in sport. Gender Diversity and Sport shows a genuine commitment to move the discussion away from historical hostilities, and reflects a passion for improving inclusion and celebrating diversity in sport for all. " - Verity Smith, Rugby Player/Trans Inclusion in Sports Youth Worker, Mermaids

    "At a time when gender diverse people are being targeting politically, Gemma Witcomb and Elizabeth Peel provide an insightful and compassionate view into the grand diversity of gender within sport. The ground-breaking essays highlight the experiences of a broad range of gender diverse people in sport; identify challenges and barriers facing trans, non-binary, and intersex people in sport; and point to strategies for inclusion. This engaging collection is a call to action that will challenge and inspire readers to envision a gender diverse and inclusive sport." - Vikki Krane, Professor of Teaching Excellence and author of Sex, Gender and Sexuality in Sport: Queer Inquiries, Bowling Green State University, USA

    "Gemma Witcomb and Elizabeth Peel’s Gender Diversity and Sport presents a robust evidence-based foundation for anyone looking to enhance their understanding of transgender inclusion in sport. Written in an easy-to-understand way, this book presents gender diversity from the perspective of experts in the field and of those with lived experience, providing the reader with a historical context as well as clear recommendations for personal and societal development. Chapters cover a range of subjects from sex-segregation and regulatory barriers faced by athletes to barriers faced in relation to gendered kit, media representation and social stigmas. This book really covers it all…This book goes beyond the normal discourses presented on transgender inclusion and explores the subject from both a wholistic and individualistic perspective, elevating transgender voices throughout. It offers an easy to understand, evidence-based introduction to gender diversity in sport for those interested in building their knowledge and breaking through the misinformation." - Reviewed by Dr Emily Pattinson, Chair of the British Psychological Society’s Division of Sport and Exercise Psychology, in The Psychologist

    "The book is both informative and well written, but most of all, it is a great departure from the primary narrative of athletic advantages. Instead, this book gives the reader a good grounding in wider debates around transgender participation in sport and focuses on inclusion rather than exclusion. In addition, it keeps in mind not just the elite athlete who is top of their game, but the everyday athlete, the student joining a University team or a keen amateur runner entering a 10km mass-start race. So far the debate in this area has been purely based on preserving the cis-based binary nature of sport and without simply going down the rabbit hole of ‘natural advantage’ and science-based arguments, this book offers a fresh look at the subject, one that centre’s the rights of trans and non-binary individuals to participate in sports." - Reviewed by BPS West Midlands Branch

    "This book is distinctive in its critical discussions of gender diversity within sporting contexts: It encourages reflection on the progress and what remains to be done and invites further investigations. The different chapters provide cultural and intersectional studies to give a clear and detailed picture of the experiences of TGD people in sports-related contexts: It significantly contributes to the field, building upon recent literature and extending current debates. Much work remains to be done regarding the well-being of TGD people in sports, especially accounting for distinctive aspects of TGD older adults, but the present book has the potential to address the significant ignorance surrounding TGD issues in sports- related contexts." - Jessica Pistella & Roberto Baiocco (2023): Gender Diversity and Sport: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Increasing Inclusivity, Journal of Homosexuality, DOI: 10.1080/00918369.2023.2252965