AthletesCAN Releases Discussion Paper:
“Including Transitioned and Transitioning Athletes in Sport
– Issues, Facts, and Perspectives”
OTTAWA (May 29, 2009) Gender diversity is increasingly visible in Canadian society, and individuals who do not reflect mainstream gender norms are rightfully seeking to participate more fully in the benefits society has to offer, including participation in sport. AthletesCAN is pleased to announce the release of a discussion paper on the topic of gender transition and sport participation. This paper is part of a larger project aimed at creating a shared understanding of gender diversity – a subject still shrouded by a profound lack of knowledge and invalid assumptions.
The Promising Practices: Working with Transitioning/Transitioned Athletes in Sport project was initiated by AthletesCAN, in partnership with the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport (CCES) and the Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women and Sport and Physical Activity (CAAWS), to identify and discuss the barriers that inhibit the participation of gender-transitioning and gender-transitioned athletes in sport.
Says Moira Lassen, Executive Director of AthletesCAN, “The Including Transitioned and Transitioning Athletes in the Sport discussion paper opens the door for society to reconsider the binary model of sex – that people are either female or male – and to look at ways that gender variance may be accommodated within the rules of sport, in a manner that is respectful of all athletes.”
This project has several components including commissioning academic reviews of the social sciences and biological literature; compiling examples of good practices; consulting nationally with sport leaders and athletes; and broadening the dialogue via publication of this discussion paper. The discussion paper approaches the issue from historical, ethical, educational, and scientific perspectives, and observes that contrary to popular belief, there is no empirical evidence to either support or refute the assumption that transitioned athletes compete at an advantage or disadvantage compared with physically born females and males.
Doug MacQuarrie, Director of Ethics and Anti-Doping with the CCES, notes “The integration of gender-transitioned athletes into sport at the elite levels presents certain unique challenges. For example, it is not clear how the hormone treatments required for gender transition can be managed under the current World Anti-Doping Code. This is just one of the issues that this paper explores.”
The participation of CAAWS in this project is a natural extension of its groundbreaking work on tackling homophobia in sport. Karin Lofstrom, Executive Director of CAAWS, explains that: “the Canadian Sport Policy upholds the principle that sport is welcoming and inclusive, offering all Canadians an opportunity to participate without discrimination. The release of this paper is a first step in an ongoing education process.”
Comments Andrew Nisker, President of AthletesCAN, “Canada is a global leader in promoting safe and inclusive environments for sport participation. AthletesCAN hopes that this paper will stimulate valuable dialogue that will guide a fair and informed approach to integrating transitioning and transitioned athletes into all levels of the Canadian sport system.”
Copies of the discussion paper are available from the AthletesCAN website. An executive summary is also available. AthletesCAN welcomes feedback on the paper, and has provided a convenient feedback feature along with a summary of feedback collected to date. Feedback gathered will provide guidance on a policy framework and policy implementation.
AthletesCAN Press Release – May 29th, 2009
Document locations to DOWNLOAD Scientific/Literary Reviews…