Transgender Inclusion and the Changing Face of Lesbian Softball Leagues

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Scholarly level: 
Faculty/Staff
Final version published as: 

Travers, A. and J. Deri (2010). "Transgender inclusion and the changing face of lesbian softball leagues," International Review for the Sociology of Sport, 46(4), 488-507. https://doi.org/10.1177/1012690210384661

Date created: 
2010-04-01
Keywords: 
Gender
Lesbian
Queer
Sex
Softball
Transgender
Abstract: 

This article examines the re-negotiation of sex-based boundaries within the context of transgender/transsexual inclusion in North American lesbian softball leagues. Semi-structured interviews with transgender participants combined with participant observation have been undertaken. We focus on the ‘climate’ (Hall and Sandler, 1982) for transgender participation in lesbian softball leagues that have adopted radical (non sex-binary-based) transinclusive policies. The majority of our research participants report positive experiences of inclusion and our own observations inform us that trans participation has already changed the faces of these leagues to the extent that lesbian identity is being queered: it is shifting away, at least to some degree, from assumed biological commonality to cultural affinity. Positive experiences, however, were more uniformly reported by transgender women than by transmen.A number of transmen, while reporting experiences of inclusion, expressed both personal ambivalence about participating in lesbian sporting and non-sporting spaces and a desire for fuller inclusion in the form of sensitivity and awareness concerning the use of gendered pronouns and categorical invocations. Our study documents cultural processes of sex boundary re-negotiation. As such it builds on previous scholarship (Travers, 2006) that suggests that lesbian softball leagues with non-sex-binary based transinclusive policies may offer a model for queering mainstream sporting spaces away from the socially constructed categories of the two sex system.

Language: 
English
Document type: 
Article
Rights: 
Rights remain with the authors.
Sponsor(s): 
Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC)
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