Resource list for challenging exclusion of trans women from women’s sports

This is a brief list of resources addressing the question of if trans women have a physical advantage over cis women in sports. (Spoiler: no.) Exclusion of trans women from women’s sports due to supposed physical advantage is often considered scientifically valid and therefore not transphobic. These links demonstrate the lack of scientific evidence that trans women have a physical advantage over cis women, and explore the history of developing policies of both trans exclusion and inclusion in sports. These are intended to meet the needs of people who are potentially open to this type of proof for trans inclusion, or at least who claim to be interested in science, but lack the interest, resources, time, and/or energy to seek out and interpret information which challenges familiar ciscentric standards. Allies, take this stuff to your cis friends!

British Journal of Sports Medicine, 2005. Gender identity and sport: is the playing field level? – Medical journal article not behind a paywall, reviewing the history of gender testing and analyzing the validity of numerous arguments for trans women’s theoretical athletic advantage over cis women.

Journal of Sporting Cultures and Identities, 2015. Race Times for Transgender Athletes. – Study of athletic performance of trans women who competed in races both as men and as women. Article is available for print order or can be viewed freely as a PDF.

SB Nation: Bloody Elbow, 2013. Leading sex reassignment physicians weigh in on Fallon Fox. – Interview with two surgeons who are prominent in trans medicine.

LawInSport, 2013. Sport and Transgender Athletes. –  Overview of gender testing and policies regarding trans and intersex people in sports, from a sports authority perspective; notably, looks at why the currently standard requirement that trans people be on hormones for two years can shut them out of certain sports entirely. Requires free registration to view article.

Huffington Post Gay Voices, 2014. Do Transgender Athletes Have an Unfair Advantage? – Brief interpretive analysis of medical and athletic authorities including some of the above, for people who want a more readable article and who don’t consider Huffington Post (especially the Gay Voices page) to have excessive liberal bias.

Salon, 2013. Debunking “unfair advantage” myths about trans athletes. – Briefer interpretive analysis, simply debunking a couple major myths about trans women’s bodies, for people who want a more readable article and who don’t consider Salon to have excessive liberal bias.

Sport in American History, 2014. Opening Pandora’s Box? Transgender Athletes and the Fight for Inclusion. – Excellent brief history of trans people in sports, and the development of policies regarding their inclusion.


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