Illegible Genders in the Change Room: Improving Transgender Inclusivity in Sporting Spaces

Thursday, 19 July 2018: 18:30
Oral Presentation
Ali GREEY, University of Toronto, Canada
For lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer, transgendered and intersex (LGBQTI) bodies, the change room is often a space fraught with vulnerability. Scholarship suggests that discomfort in the change room represents the most significant barrier to this community’s inclusion in sport (Hargie, 2017; Keogh, 2006; Whittle, 2007). While several scholars propose gender-neutral alternatives to men’s/ women’s change rooms (Cavanaugh, 2010; Sykes, 2011), little literature examines how this existing infrastructure can be adapted to improve accessibility for LGBQTI participants.

My research examines the Change Room Project (CRP) as a model for mediating gender differentiated spaces to improve inclusivity for ambiguously gendered bodies (Fusco, forthcoming). My presentation draws on an autoethnographic account of my observations visiting change rooms around the world as an androgynous athlete competing for the Canadian women’s boxing team. I will illustrate the CRP, and the phenomenon that I observed in the change room where it was displayed in 2015. My presentation will designate significant time for interactive discussion, I am particularly interested in panel/ audience members’ explorations into how intersectional aspects of identity (eg. masculinity/ femininity, sexuality, being racialized, (dis)ability and body size) affect experiences and capacity for claiming space in the change room.