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New: Young People and Sport
Taking part in sport and physical activity for trans, non-binary and gender diverse people is not always straightforward. Barriers such as gendered clothing, single-sex changing rooms and teams split into boys and girls can exclude those who are either non-binary or can trigger gender dysphoria.
Research about participating in sport and physical exercise for trans adults is growing, but we know less about the experiences of trans youth. Sport and physical exercise are important for health and well-being, but school can be a minefield to navigate, with rules and regulations that don’t suit everyone, not just trans youth. Physical education (PE) and school sport are compulsory, so it’s not always possible to opt out. Lots of trans youth want to take part in sport simply because they love it and are good at it, but the barriers they experience are not always realised by teachers and coaches.
We want to help reduce those barriers. So in July 2022, we launched an online survey asking trans
youth aged 11-16 what their experiences were of participating in sport and physical exercise. Here’s what we found out.
- Over a third of trans youth take part in sport two to three times a week.
- The biggest motivations for doing sport are to have fun, see friends and get fit and healthy.
- Almost half said taking part in sport definitely improved their physical health.
- 52% feel their gender identity has impacted them taking part in sport, with barriers including gendered uniform, language, and how sport is often organised along binary lines – i.e boys and girls teams.
- A third worried about taking part in sport because of negative media stories about trans people.
- Young people should never be excluded from participating in sports on the basis of their gender or trans identities.
- Those working in sport should undertake training to improve understanding of the issues affecting trans youth in sport.
- Careful consideration should be given to whether a sport or activity needs to be sex separated. Where there are benefits to sex separation, trans youth should be allowed to chose the category they feel most comfortable with.
- Sporting bodies, Government departments and the media must listen to and empower the voices of trans youth in sport, taking proactive steps to make them feel welcome and accepted.
Understanding the impact of Bell v Tavistock
Two years on from the Bell v Tavistock judgement, Mermaids has produced a short report reflecting on its impact for trans young people and their families.
The Lottery of Primary Care
In 2020, Mermaids and De Montfort University launched a survey to find out about the experiences of children, young people and their families visiting their GP for support relating to gender identity. We received over 200 responses. Here’s what we found out…
You can read the new peer-reviewed publication on this research here:
Shared care and gender identity support in Primary Care: The perspectives and experiences of parents/carers of young trans people – Zowie Davy, Jack Benson, Abby Barras, 2022 (sagepub.com)