Reconstructing, Challenging, and Negotiating Sex/Gender in Sport: U.S. Public Opinion About Transgender Athletes’ Rights, Rights for Athletes With Varied Sex Characteristics, Sex Testing, and Gender Segregation

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Chris Knoester Department of Sociology, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, USA

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Rachel Allison Department of Sociology, Mississippi State University, Mississippi State, MS, USA

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Victoria T. Fields Department of Communication, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL, USA

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Using data from the National Sports and Society Survey (N = 3,993), this study considers U.S. public opinion about transgender athletes’ rights, rights for athletes with varied sex characteristics, sex testing, and gender segregation in sports. Social structural location, social group, and ideological characteristics are examined as predictors of these opinions. Results indicated that most U.S. adults seem to support transgender athletes’ rights and rights for athletes with varied sex characteristics and oppose sex testing and gender segregation in youth sports. Men, heterosexuals, older generations, those without a college education, Republicans, Christians, and rural residents, as well as those who exhibit more traditionalism and traditionally gendered beliefs in their ideologies, were more opposed to athletes’ rights and inclusivity on these issues.

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