As society slowly relinquishes its attachment to the notion of a gender binary, one context where that paradigm remains firmly entrenched is sport. At all levels and in nearly all sports, participants are segregated into separate male and female competitions.
Traditionally, sport organizers have rarely questioned the assumption that fairness requires the separation of male and female bodies because they are different from each other in athletically-relevant ways. However, the increasing visibility of transgender identities, including individual transgender athletes, has challenged sport organizing bodies to critically examine this assumption in an effort to construct rules of eligibility for transgender athletes in one sex category or the other.
In the United States, various state scholastic and intercollegiate athletic associations have reached different decisions about whether and under what conditions transgender athletes should be able to participate according to their gender identities rather than their birth-assigned sex.
Using these diverse approaches as examples, this talk will present the strengths and weaknesses of various approaches, ultimately arguing in favor of the most inclusive gender-identity based policies. This talk will also suggest that efforts to accommodate and include transgender athletes could potentially lead to some dismantling of the binary paradigm in sport, albeit slowly and on a limited basis.
Professor dr. Erin Buzuvis
Professor dr. Erin Buzuvis is a professor of law at Western New England University in Massachusetts, USA. She is an expert on Title IX, the U.S. law that prohibits sex discrimination in education, including scholastic and collegiate athletic programs, as well as sex discrimination and other intersecting discrimination in the educational context and beyond.
She has researched and written about such topics as college athletics reform, inclusion of transgender and intersex athletes, barriers to leadership faced by women who work in college athletics, and Title IX's application to sexual assault disciplinary hearings. She also teaches courses on administrative law, employment discrimination, Title IX, torts, and property.