“FTM Means Female to Me”: Transgender Athletes Performing Gender

in Women in Sport and Physical Activity Journal
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Viviane K. Namaste (2000) argues that trans-individuals have been culturally erased and rendered invisible. She contends that academics should begin to explore the realities of transgender individuals’ lives. Transgender identified athletes have begun to garner more media attention in recent years, particularly with the 2004 International Olympic Committee’s ruling allowing transgender athletes to participate in the Olympics. Despite this increasing media attention, there is a considerable lack of academic work focusing on the experiences of transgender athletes, as well as a paucity of any serious theoretical consideration of these experiences. The purpose of this paper is to present trans athletes’ narratives of their sport participation, with attention to how gender identity and performance was or was not a part of this participation. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with four trans identified athletes. The narratives of these athletes portray a way of thinking about gender as a category that is transmutable, unstable, and constantly written and rewritten through embodied performances. Queer theory will serve as the theoretical perspective used to analyze these narratives.

Dr. Tamar Z. Semerjian School of Kinesiology and Nutritional Sciences 5151 State University Drive California State University, Los Angeles Los Angeles, CA 90032 Email: tsemerj@calstatela.edu Phone: (323)343-4661 Fax: (323)343-6482

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