Why do sports fans support or oppose the inclusion of trans women in women’s sports? An empirical study of fairness and gender identity

Jamie Cleland*, Ellis Cashmore, Kevin Dixon

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This article presents the responses of 4,113 sports fans (55% of whom self-identified as female), collected via an online survey from April 2019 to June 2019, about their views on trans women competing in women’s sports. In presenting the data we draw on two recurring themes – gender identity and fairness – to explain the contrasting views surrounding the traditional gendered organization of sports. The overall findings are that just over half of our male and female participants are against the inclusion of trans women, with non-binary participants more supportive and those who preferred not to disclose their gender identity less supportive. The article concludes by suggesting that whilst there is evidence of progressive attitudes amongst our participants, there is also strong resistance to trans women competing in women’s sports that is primarily related to the perceived retention of an unfair biological advantage by being assigned male at birth.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages16
JournalSport in Society
Early online date27 Jun 2021
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 27 Jun 2021

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