Athlete Ally, 200+ Scholars and Athletes Condemn Sport Canada’s Funding of Anti-Trans Research 

May 9, 2022 — Athlete Ally and 200+ members of the academic and sport communities, including Olympians Quinn and Erin McLeod, sent a letter to Sport Canada in response to their financial support of an anti-transgender research survey. Led by Catherine Devine, the Canadian High Performance Athletes 1 survey perpetuates discriminatory views of transgender athletes and a clear violation of the Tri-Council Policy Statement, which mandates that researchers respect the dignity of human subjects. 

Throughout the survey, Devine uses the term “biological males”, code for a trans-exclusionary position, which deliberately demeans and devalues trans women’s identities and humanity and  ignores scientific research demonstrating that the athletic capabilities of transgender women are not comparable to those of cisgender men. This language injects a clear bias used to prime participants for answering questions. Priming is widely recognized amongst survey researchers as biasing the responses of survey participants and compromising the validity of the resulting findings. 

“In recent years, we have seen an injection of transphobia in research across the globe and especially the use of transphobic signaling like the use of the term ‘biological males’,” said Dr. Anna Baeth, Director of Research at Athlete Ally. “It is deeply concerning that this study, despite lacking the gold-standard ethical approval that all research requires, is being commissioned by Sport Canada. Canadian institutions have a storied history of offering objective, well informed research and policies, especially around transgender athletes. Canada has been a true leader in this space; seeing such systems infiltrated with transphobia is disheartening and disturbing. We in the academic and athletic community cannot – and I hope based on the immense responses to this letter, will not – become complicit on these issues.”

“As a transgender athlete who has proudly represented Canada on the Olympic podium, I am dismayed to see Sport Canada funding research that perpetuates deeply harmful stereotypes about transgender athletes,” said Canadian Olympian and Athlete Ally Ambassador Quinn. “Especially given the onslaught of legislation and policies banning transgender youth from sports, we need research that dispels myths and misinformation and that promotes inclusivity, not discrimination.”

Read the letter in full here