Psychosocial factors influencing sport drop out among transgender athletes


The lack of inclusive environments and policies within sport and physical activity spaces are among the barriers to engaging in physical activity identified by members of the 2SLGBTQ+ community (Jones et al., 2017). Much of the research in the 2SLGBTQ+ community lacks the perspective of Transgender individuals, resulting in a distinct lack of appropriate guidelines for creating safe environments free of discrimination. The purpose of this study was to describe factors influencing sport dropout among Transgender athletes. Participants (n = 28; M = 23 years old) recruited through social media and organizations that work directly with Transgender individuals completed an online survey containing questions about demographics, previous and current sport participation, and physical, social, and sport policy factors related to sport dropout. Participants were competing at recreational (32.1%), club (28.6%), and varsity or higher (39.3%) levels at the time of drop out. While participants' rating patterns suggest a variety of environmental, personal, and social factors contributed to drop out, 85.7% participants identified their gender identity as the reason they dropped out of sport. Of those participants, 47.6% felt pressured by others in sport to participate on the team that matched their sex assigned at birth and experienced transphobia from officials (57%) and opposing teams/staff (52.4%). Findings support the need for policies that support the development of Transgender inclusive sport environments from both environmental and social standpoints. Further research on how to continually improve access to sport for Transgender individuals is needed.