Beyond Physiology: Embodied Experience, Embodied Advantage, and the Inclusion of Transgender Athletes in Competitive Sport

Cesar R. Torres, Francisco Javier Lopez Frias, María José Martínez Patiño

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

In this article, we scrutinize views that justify exclusionary policies regarding transgender athletes based primarily on physiological criteria. We introduce and examine some elements that deserve more in-depth investigation in the discussion on how to assess the inclusion of transgender athletes in competitive sport, namely lived body and embodied experience. These phenomenological notions have played, especially since the publication of Iris Marion Young’s essay ‘Throwing like a girl: A phenomenology of feminine body comportment, motility, and spatiality,’ a key role in the philosophical literature on the inclusion of women in sport. However, they have not yet been fully incorporated into the debate on transgender athletes. Subsequently, we explore interrelated aspects of transgender athletes’ embodied experience that must be taken into account when assessing issues related to their participation in competitive sport, for they might confer some transgender athletes an embodied advantage or, possibly, disadvantage when compared to their cisgender counterparts. We contend that analyses of the inclusion or exclusion of transgender athletes must go beyond their current reliance on physiological criteria and incorporate the phenomenological notion of embodied advantage.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalSport, Ethics and Philosophy
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Philosophy

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