"Let Them Play...But Not with Me": Exploring Student-Athlete's Attitudes Towards Trans* Participation in Varsity Sport

  • Author / Creator
    Davis, Adriana A
  • The debate on whether transgender athletes should be ‘allowed’ to participate in elite sport, and in which gender category, has been increasing in recent years. Transgender individuals experience discrimination and rejection in physical activity and sport at a higher degree than their lesbian, gay, and bisexual counterparts. The current study identifies and describes the current attitudes of varsity athletes from three schools in Western Canada towards transgender athletes' participation in varsity sport. Participants, varsity athletes, were recruited from three Western Canada universities following preliminary conversations with each university’s athletic director. A total of 86 participants completed measures including a demographic questionnaire, the Attitudes Towards Transgender Men and Transgender Women (ATTMW) Scale, two questions specific to transgender athletes, the Shortened Right-Wing Authoritarianism Scale (RWA-S), the Revised Religious Fundamentalism Scale (R-RFS), and the Self-Compassion Scale – Short Form (SCS-SF). It was hypothesized that individuals who indicate religious fundamentalism, right-wing authoritarianism, lower self-compassion, and a conservative political orientation would express negative attitudes towards transgender individuals and would disagree with the two questions specific to transgender athletes. Results from hierarchical regressions indicate binary gender to be a predictor of attitudes towards trans* individuals and participation in sport. Cisgender women expressed less favourable attitudes towards trans* individuals and trans* participation in sport compared to cisgender male participants. Participants with more favorable attitudes towards trans* individuals and their participation in sports exhibited lower levels of RWA and RF, indicating an association between traditional values and negative views on trans* individuals in sports. The study also observed a preference for trans* men over trans* women, possibly influenced by perceived athletic advantages and higher perceived threat of trans women, reflecting underlying sexism and transphobia. Furthermore, the research revealed a nuanced relationship between gender, athletic identity, and attitudes in the context of transgender participation in sports, potentially shaped by perceptions of competition and feminism.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Spring 2024
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Education
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.