U SPORTS has recently implemented a new policy regarding transgender athletes. Several experts in the field of gender and university sports have expressed their opinions on this policy. Although long overdue, this policy will allow Canadian university athletes to play on the team that corresponds to their gender identity.
Many people’s identities are strongly tied to the sporting world, whether it is through active participation or as a fan. Therefore, inclusivity in sports is crucial, as sports serve as as a platform for individuals to form ideas of what is right and what is wrong. Without a policy regarding transgender athletes, those who are transgender could be led to feel they do not belong in the sports world. Furthermore, the idea that it is only acceptable to play on a team which is associated with your birth sex would be heightened. The fact that U SPORTS implemented this policy will open a dialogue where we will see the positive benefit of inclusivity in more aspects of life.
This is especially true because simply coming out as a transgender athlete can be a daunting task. Coaches and fellow athletes need to ensure they are accepting of transgender athletes and they must be educated on how to approach the topic. Rules are heading in the inclusive direction for transgender athletes but this is not all that needs to be done. People need to become familiarized with the appropriate ways to approach these athletes, such as using the proper pronouns. Sports organizations and coaches act as mediums to communicate with and inform the general population. Therefore, it is essential that they are knowledgeable of transgender rights so they can work to ensure these rights are provided. In doing so, transgender athletes will feel they are safe and accepted in sport.
Featured image: Jacob Roy, a student athlete