Participation of Transgender People in Sports

Justin Shaw

Liberty University


The topic of transgender athletes is one that is constantly considered as a complex topic especially by sports managers in different settings. Many of the individuals belonging in this community who have participated in sports in the past have often complained about being subjected to ills such as victimization as well as discrimination. Further many individuals still struggle on the question of whether or not it is fair for transgender individuals to participate in sports in the gender they identify with. Most managers in sports have set a requirement that for one to be allowed to participate in sports, they need to have undergone a surgery to confirm their gender in order to ensure that they offer a level playing ground for all individuals in sports (Hargreaves & Anderson, 2014). This paper will review the issue of identity on the ground of one’s gender, how this affects their ability to participate in various sporting activities such as basketball and how policies in regard to this issue have evolved over the years. The paper will also present a few case studies demonstrating the experiences of various transgender individuals in the field of sports.

Thesis Statement: Transgender individuals should be able to participate in sports in the gender which they identify with but with fair requirements that help place them on a level ground with other individuals of the same gender in the team.

Case studies

The following are real-life case studies for transgender athletes which have been on the new front over the recent times.

Case 1

This first case is about a transgender girl who runs the tracks runner in her high school and leaves tremendous records which leave many individuals questioning her eligibility for the girls’ teams saying that she has an unfair advantage since she was born a boy. The girl’s name is Terry Miller who made national headlines after coming first in a state race in May this year. She narrates about her struggles playing as a girl because of the constant backlash that she receives from parents and other students. She says that sports managers and teams have been more welcoming after she went through hormone therapy but still many individuals mainly parents and students still think she is still at an advantage (ABC News, 2018). This has led to the filing of petitions to change the policy of the state on allowing people to participate on teams based on the gender which they identify with.

Case 2

The second case study is of another transgender girl also running tracks in her high school together with Terry Miller. Andraya Yearwood who was on the same competition as Terry Miller that is the state’s race where she came in second to Terry also talks about the struggles she has being a transgender athlete and having so many people think that she has an upper hand and should not compete in the girls team since she was born male (ABC News, 2018). Similar case as that of terry in the first case study, she has also undergone hormone therapy but yet many people think that her win is still as a result of the fact that she was born as a male although she is being accommodated by sports managers. She has also been on the receiving end of backlash and petitions that could have her kicked out of the team.

Case 3

This third case study is one of a high school wrestler whose story also dominated the news after joining the girls wrestling team in their high school and taking dominance which led her right to the state tournaments (Fox4 News, 2017). In Mac Beggs’ from Trinity High School, she has been on the girl’s team and is very open about her transition from being a girl to boy. To make this possible she has been taking t testosterone and this according to the claims of many is the reason why she stands undefeated. His will to play in the boy’s team is undermined by UIL policies whose standards he has not yet met in order to be allowed in and this has led to filing of a lawsuit against her from another wrestler claiming that he has an unfair advantage and is not supposed to be playing at the girl’s team. In this case, the blame is being placed on the UIL for having standards that limit ones choice to participate as an athlete in the gender they identify with since their standards only allow one to participate on a team of the gender in which one was born in (Fox4 News, 2017). The lawsuit claims that Mac from Texas should be banned from participating in the girl’s team but the parents fight back saying that this can happen only when the UIL allow her to participate in the boy’s team (Fox4 News, 2017).

Case 4

The fourth case is a case from Alaska where a transgender female track runner. Similar to the girls in the first two cases Nattaphon Wangyot is also facing a lot of backlash from parents in the school claiming that she is better advantaged that all others. However, in this case, this is not backed by any form of extraordinary wins. She competes on almost the same level as all others since she does not always come first (The Young Turks, 2016). She has also has gone through hormonal changes to make her more like her their female counterparts but parents still see her as an unfair barrier to their daughters going after scholarship opportunities.

Case 5

The final case is one of Hannah Mouncey. She is a transgender woman who wanted to be a part of the AFL women team but she was unfortunately denied entry for reasons such as she still had a lot of male feature such as a lot of strength as well as her huge size (Birdman, 2017). Football being a competitive sport which is mainly very physical and rough she was denied access since this would be unfair for her other counterparts who were women of way smaller sizes and a lot less strength (Birdman, 2017). Her features show that she still has more of the male hormones that the female ones and this gives her the advantage in terms of strength and size. He was dismissed on the grounds of avoiding being unfair to other players because of her masculine advantage.

Literature Review

The issue of inclusion of transgender individuals in the athletics teams has been an issue that has raised a lot of controversies for a long time. This is a controversy that has mainly affected individuals who change their gender from male to female (Symons, Sbaraglia, Hillier & Mitchell, 2010). This is because males are born with greater athletics abilities compared to females for example speed, muscle power, and strength and therefore people see their female birth characteristics as giving them greater advantages which makes it unfair for other girls in the team (Arcelus, Bouman & Haycraft, 2017). It is highly commendable that over the past few years we have seen a lot of changes in sports management one of the major ones being the fact that more transgender athletes are being welcomed and allowed to play. With the right policies, organizations such as Olympic Committee (IOC) as well as National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) among many others have taken up many transgender athletes (Travers, 2018).

However, for this population of athletes, one of the major challenges that they still experience is the fact that they still face a high rate of hostility mostly among non-management members (Anderson, 2017). This is evident from the real-life case studies described above. We see for example in the case of Terry, Nattaphon as well as Andraya that even though they have been allowed to participate in sports they constantly have to struggle with opposition from fellow students as well as parents on the basis of the fact that they have an unfair advantage because they are males by birth. The question that mainly raises conflict is whether transgender female athletes have an added advantage compared to their female counterparts.

Individuals who oppose the participation of transgender females in female teams in sports make this argument on the basis of hormone levels, height as well as weight claiming that males have a greater advantage on these three aspects which makes competition with females very unfair (Westbrook & Schilt, 2014). While it is true that males have a greater advantage in all these aspects it is also true that when individuals have undergone the right procedures while becoming transgender for example hormone surgery or hormone therapy the level of male hormones that give them an advantage are replaced with female hormones which allow them to have features that are mostly alike to their counterparts (Miller, Flores, Haider-Markel, Lewis, Tadlock, & Taylor, 2017). Most people arguing against the participation of transgender individuals in sports seek to achieve fairness in sports.

Given the two facts there it is possible to achieve fairness if sports management are able to ascertain that a transgender female has the right set of characteristics which put them on a level playing ground like their female counterparts. This is the only way to achieve fairness because, on the other hand, it is unfair to prevent individuals from identifying with a gender that makes them happy or denying individuals the opportunity to pursue a passion in athletics just because they have acquired a new gender identity different from their birth identity (Mavhandu-Mudzusi, 2014). That is the reason why in a case such as that of Hannah Mouncey, the decision to deny her the chance to participate in the women team is totally fair since her characteristics are not on the same level ground as the rest of the players. She was not denied a chance for being a transgender female but for exceeding requirements of height and weight.

While people argue that transgender individuals should not be allowed to play in the teams which they identify with, we risk an instance such as the one in Mac Beggs’ where a transgender male playing in a female team since he is female by birth becomes unfair to their original gender’s team while if a transgender female plays in a male team because it is her original gender then she becomes the weaker and victimized party. Such a setting only enhances the victimization of other team members and this is clearly also unfair. Since it is illegal to discriminate them from sporting the only fair ground is putting in place policies that help to make sure that Transgender athletes meet the standards of the gender they identify with in terms of hormones, weight, and height before being allowed to compete (Hargie, Mitchell & Somerville, 2017). This way a leveled competing ground is set and people compete only on basis of talent and ability.

Furthermore, there is no research evidence yet that has proven that transgender athletes are predisposed to having an athletic advantage compared to others of the same gender which they identify with (Davis, 2017). For example, the case of Nattaphon Wangyot on the case studies shows that it is possible to compete on the same level since she does not always win. In general, there is no basis of proving the unfair advantage that individuals always claim when the transgender individuals have already gone through the necessary procedure and therefore they should be allowed to play. Further given that they cannot be denied the chance to not play at all, taking away their ability to join teams of the genders they identify with only leads to the victimization of the gender they are transitioning from or their own victimization and this also is not very fair (Travers, 2018). Mac’s case is a great example. Since fair competition is the baseline of all this controversy, sports managers need not to discriminate against the transgender athletes and non-management parties need not be hostile against them when the right sex verification procedures are done and when they show that they are right to qualify according to legal standards and policies set. The fact that hormone treatments have proven able to transition a man to have equal qualities as individuals born females by reducing muscle mass and the testosterone levels and vice versa is enough proof that this fairground can be reached (Zeigler, 2016).

Application of legal issues in sport managerial practice

The law has had a major influence on the issue of transgender participation in sports which are competitive such as basketball. This is because the federal and the state government have laws in place which first prohibit any form of discrimination and in this case on the basis of sexual orientation according to Title VII (Travers, 2018). Further, the state laws further define how transgender individuals ought to be admitted to sports teams. This is a law that varies from state to state. In some states, transgender individuals are allowed to join sports teams for the genders which they identify with provided they have undergone the right hormone procedures to enhance their transition to the other gender (Buzuvis, 2012). In most other states, transgender athletes are not allowed to join athletic teams on the basis of the gender they identify with but they are allowed to join the team of the gender stated on their birth certificates. These laws act as the major source of guideline and authority for the sports managers since are required to comply with these laws.

In the first set of state, individuals are free to play with the teams which they identify with while in the second set of states individuals are restricted from switching teams after they start to transition. These strict laws determine a managers decision on team placement for transgender athletes (Place & Beggs, 2011). For example in the case of Mac Beggs, no matter how clearly unfair it was for him to play in the girls’ team and despite being willing to move to the boys’ team the policies of the state made it hard and hence perpetrated unfair competition and there is very little the sports manager would have done. Managerial decisions of sports managers and the results that these decisions yield are just as fair or as unfair as the legal policies governing the state. The policies denying individuals to play in teams they identify with only cause greater harm. In accordance with the thesis statement, more states need to give for transgender to join teams which they identify with while putting in place right measures to ensure fairness. Fairness of laws regarding the admission of transgender individuals in sports needs to be set from the top that is the government level for there to be fairness in managerial practices (Acklin, 2017).

Anderson, E. (2017). Transgender Athletes in Competitive Sport. London: Taylor and Francis.

The main focus of this author is the role that is played by the transgender individuals in the world of competitive business. The author covers the representation of this population in sports and concludes that the rate of representation is rising over time. Further the author looks at the different challenges that transgender individuals participating in different ports face as a result of their sexuality and gender identity. Issues of hostility and lack of full acceptance are discussed by the author in great depth. In general the author tries to paint the picture of the life of a transgender individual in sports to help the reader get into their world and understand what they encounter. This is a very insightful source for this research as it helps to provide insight on the transgender world of sports.

Davis, H. (2017). Beyond Trans: does gender matter. New York: New York University Press.

This is a source that tries to answer the question of how the gender of an individual affects their sport performance. The author takes a different perspective in defining this issue by intentionally deciding to drop the word Trans and focuses on the effects of gender on sports that is how different genders connect to sports. The author then late tries to connect the differences discusses with the situation of the transgender individuals to ascertain if there is anything to really worry about in regard to this whole controversy. The author concludes that while the main aspect about males and females that affect their performance is their hormone and that in the case of the transgender individual, when this is reversed, then fair competition can be achieved. This is a resource that has been helpful in informing and affirming the thesis of this paper.

Hargreaves, J. & Anderson, E. (2014). Routledge handbook of sport, gender and sexuality. London New York: Routledge.

This is a book with which the author aimed at making the readers understand the dynamics of gender as well as sex in sports. It combines literature from sports professionals and professionals outside the sporting world and this makes it very rich in knowledge. He book explores the theme of gendered sporting, why this is important and the evolution that has happened around this topic over the years one of the being the presence of transgender population in sports. While addressing the issue of the transgender population, the author talks about the issue of masculinity, how it has been praised and the possibility of mediating this using clearer facts. This source helps to provide insight for this research by giving different expert perspective on the issue.

Travers, A. (2018). The Trans generation: how Trans kids (and their parents) are creating a gender revolution. New York: New York University Press.

This is a very modern book where the author maps the evolution that has occurred over time which has allowed greater accommodation of more transgender individuals in sports. The author is grateful for changes in law and policies as well the courage that parents as well as transgender children have shown by standing up for their rights. The book in general acknowledges the changes in sports management which have been causes by school kids as well as their parents and how that has worked out. According to the author many have managed to successfully accommodate transgender individuals and this is highly commendable but although there still is some resistance. The author has also not failed to discusses various issues raised especially against the revolution and justification for and against them ad this has helped to greatly inform my argument for my thesis.

Zeigler, C. (2016). Fair play: how LGBT athletes are claiming their rightful place in sports. New York, NY: Edge of Sports Akashic Books.

This is book that focuses on the evolution of the manner which individuals in the transgender community are treated in sports over the years. The book is address to parties in the sporting industry and it helps to offer deep insight on how all parties involved starting from the government to the players can work tougher to not only establish an environment that is accommodative of the transgender population but one that also promotes fairness in playing. The author advocates for players to be allowed to lay for the gender with which they identify with and for this reason it has been very helpful in providing information and evidence to support the thesis.


ABC News. (2018). Transgender track stars speak out as critics allege unfair advantage. YouTube. From:

Acklin, K. L. (2017). Hurdling Gender Identity Discrimination: The Implications of State Participation Policies on Transgender Youth Athletes Ability to Thrive. BCJL & Soc. Just., 37, 107.

Anderson, E. (2017). Transgender Athletes in Competitive Sport. London: Taylor and Francis.

Arcelus, J., Bouman, W. P., & Haycraft, E. (2017). Sport and transgender people: A systematic review of the literature relating to sports participation and competitive sports policies. Sports medicine, 47(4), 701-716.

Birdman. (2017). Transgender Man Denied Admission into Women’s Sports and People Are Upset. You Tube. From:

Buzuvis, E. (2012). Including transgender athletes in sex-segregated sport.

Davis, H. (2017). Beyond Trans: does gender matter. New York: New York University Press.

Fox4 News. (2017). Lawsuit Filed Over Transgender Wrestler. You Tube. From:

Hargie, O. D., Mitchell, D. H., & Somerville, I. J. (2017). ‘People have a knack of making you feel excluded if they catch on to your difference’: Transgender experiences of exclusion in the sport. International Review for the Sociology of Sport, 52(2), 223-239.

Hargreaves, J. & Anderson, E. (2014). Routledge handbook of sport, gender and sexuality. London New York: Routledge.

Mavhandu-Mudzusi, A. H. (2014). Experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex students regarding sports participation in a South African rural-based university: health. African Journal for Physical Health Education, Recreation and Dance, 20(Issue-22), 710-720.

Miller, P. R., Flores, A. R., Haider-Markel, D. P., Lewis, D. C., Tadlock, B. L., & Taylor, J. K. (2017). Transgender politics as body politics: effects of disgust sensitivity and authoritarianism on transgender rights attitudes. Politics, Groups, and Identities, 5(1), 4-24.

Place, G., & Beggs, B. (2011). Motivation factors for participation in GLBT sports league. Journal of Homosexuality, 58(10), 1409-1420.

Symons, C., Sbaraglia, M., Hillier, L., & Mitchell, A. (2010). Come out to play: The sports experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in Victoria.

The Young Turks. (2016). Transgender Teen Athlete Causes Controversy. YouTube. From:

Travers, A. (2018). Transgender issues in sport and leisure. In The Palgrave handbook of feminism and sport, leisure and physical education (pp. 649-665). Palgrave Macmillan, London.

Travers, A. (2018). The Trans generation: how Trans kids (and their parents) are creating a gender revolution. New York: New York University Press.

Westbrook, L., & Schilt, K. (2014). Doing gender, determining gender: Transgender people, gender panics, and the maintenance of the sex/gender/sexuality system. Gender & Society, 28(1), 32-57.

Zeigler, C. (2016). Fair play: how LGBT athletes are claiming their rightful place in sports. New York, NY: Edge of Sports Akashic Books.

SMGT 505

You will create a 15–20-slide PowerPoint presentation that combines the process of risk management to the Application focus of your Legal Issues Paper. To complete this assignment, you will need to use the identified legal issues (from your Legal Issues Paper) and develop a risk management plan to mitigate the issues for managerial practice.  Create the Powerpoint Presentation as if it is intended to train employees on the process, plan, and practical treatments of risk management.  Complete this assignment by 11:59 p.m. (ET) on Thursday Decemeber 13, 2018.

List any sources in APA format.


Risk Management Presentation Grading Rubric

200 Points

Criteria Levels of Achievement
Content Advanced Proficient Developing Not present

60 points

55 to 60 points

The content of the presentation supports and illustrates the subject of a risk management plan to mitigate the issue for managerial practice.

50 to 54 points

The content of the presentation generally supports and illustrates the subject of a risk management plan to mitigate the issue for managerial practice.

1 to 49 points

The content of the presentation occasionally supports and illustrates the subject of a risk management plan to mitigate the issue for managerial practice.

0 points

Not present

Depth and Explanation

50 points

46 to 50 points

The assigned topic is covered in sufficient depth, and the Risk Management plan is thoroughly explained.

42 to 45 points

The assigned topic is mostly covered in sufficient depth, and/or the Risk Management plan is explained adequately.

1 to 41 points

The assigned topic is not covered in sufficient depth, and/or the Risk Management plan is missing key parts of the explanation.

0 points

Not present

Point of View

30 points

28 to 30 points

The presenter puts his/her own point of view in an appropriate manner.

25 to 27 points

The presenter generally puts his/her own point of view in an appropriate manner.

1 to 24 points

The presenter, in most instances, does not puts his/her own point of view in an appropriate manner.

0 points

Not present

Structure Advanced Proficient Developing Not present

20 points

18 to 20 points

The PowerPoint is legible, clear, and well-organized.

17 points

The PowerPoint is often legible, clear, and/or well-organized.

1 to 16 points

The PowerPoint is missing one or more of the following: legibility, clarity, or organization.

0 points

Not present


20 points

18 to 20 points

The PowerPoint is 15–20 slides.

17 points

The PowerPoint is 10–14 slides.

1 to 16 points

The PowerPoint is 1–9 slides.

0 points

Not present

Articulation and Pace

20 points

18 to 20 points

The PowerPoint is clearly articulated and well-paced.

17 points

The PowerPoint is generally well-articulated and/or well-paced.

1 to 16 points

The PowerPoint often not well-articulated and/or not well-paced.

0 points

Not present

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