To help celebrate Pride 2021, our Research team at Athlete Ally has put together a list of our favorite research readings and listenings on LGBTQ+ topics in sport. From a fully comprehensive report on the history of sex testing to videos on Lil Nas X coming out, this list includes what we consider to be the best synopses of the state of the LGBTQ+ movement in sport currently.
- Sports Saved My Life. Transgender Athletes Should Be Able To Have That Experience Too (2020) This piece exposes the true power of sport for different people in different circumstances, explaining the dehumanization of individuals when sport participation at the interscholastic level is not offered or highly problematicatized. Based on personal experience and on the backdrop of a lawsuit filed by the Alliance Defending Freedom in Connecticut against the state’s transgender-inclusive policy, the author explains why inclusion in sport at this level is critical, especially for young trans people of colour – not for athlete performance, but, more importantly, for social development, emotional and psychological retreat, and personal empowerment.
- The Truth About Trans Athletes (2019) This report attempts to disseminate fact from fiction in relation to trans athletes in mainstream, elite sport. It points to the effect collective voices of several former and current professional athletes who claim that trans women have an “unfair advantage” has on mainstream media and thus public perception and opinion about who counts as a woman and who doesn’t. However, the article identifies that there is no data-based evidence suggesting that trans women athletes have such advantages. Above all, beyond the facts, figures, and scientific data, the article encourages readers to think about who lies at the center of the debates – humans with lives and voices and feelings.
- How high school sports became the latest battle ground over transgender rights (2020) This article, written by Associate Professor of Public Policy and History, Dr. Sharrow, details the controversy around transgender athletes’ rights to compete at the interscholastic level. Following the proposed nation-wide ban of transgender girls from sport, which was only passed in Idaho (House Bill 500), Dr. Sharrow contextualizes such thought and action across the broader spectrum of transrights, including Title IX and international sport and sex testing.
- What About the Trans Athletes Who Compete – and Win – in Men’s Sports? (2021) Much of the legalities and conversations focus on trans girls and women and the implications of their inclusion in competitive sport, while the experiences and voices of and advocacy for trans boys and men often gets excluded. Centered on the personal experience of a high school senior trans athlete who competed for his school’s girls team before competing on the boy’s team, this article explains the power sport holds for transgender people, especially at the grassroots and youth level and redirects the conversation away from competition and toward the emotional, psychological, and physical realities of transgender life within the context of sport.
- What President Biden’s LGBTQ Executive Order Does and Doesn’t Do (2021) This brief yet informative article explains the causes and consequences of President Biden’s LGBTQ Executive Order he signed in the first days of his position in power. Signing such an Order is poignant on the back of the Trump administration’s continual attacks on the LGBTQ community and refusal to acknowledge or enforce existing federal laws to protect them.
A video of Lil Nas X briefly explaining why he came out and the significance of his coming out as a young, Black man in music.