Exploring non-gender influences on sport participation among Transgender athletes


Gender related policies, social attitudes, and environmental factors contribute significantly to Transgender athlete sport drop out (Haghgoo & Law, 2022). Non-gender related factors influencing drop out often impact Transgender individuals at a greater magnitude than their cisgender counterparts because of the complexity of their intersectional identities. The aims of this study were to explore factors unrelated to gender that influence sport drop out among Transgender individuals, and to describe sport participation of those who later returned to sport. Participants (n = 28, Mage = 22.96 years, SD = 2.73) completed an online survey related to their experiences in sport. While 85.7% participants indicated their initial decision to drop out of sport was related to their gender identity, they also indicated work (52.4%) and family commitments (57.1%), finances (57.6%), transportation (42.9%), and health (42.9%) as contributors. Despite these previous challenges, participants were generally satisfied with their current sport participation (M = 5.89, SD = 2.13) and most had returned to participating in a combination of team and individual sports.  Of note, some of the sports that participants indicated they were unable to play in the past due to restrictive gender-based policies (e.g., basketball, volleyball, dance) were also identified most frequently as sports participants currently engage in. While findings suggest inclusive sporting environments exist, there is a need to identify qualities of sport environments that support inclusivity and to develop policies and programs supportive of diverse identities. Developing an understanding of the complexity of these identities may encourage continuous sport participation.