2018 NASSS Annual Conference
Sport Soundtrack: Sport, Music, & Culture

Amy Cox

Troy University
Transgender Student Athletes:  Legal and Social Impacts

The National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) ranked transgender policies for athletic programs as number seven on the top ten legal issues impacting school athletic programs (Green, 2015).  A transgender, as defined by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) (2011), is “an individual whose gender identity (one’s internal psychological identification as a boy/man or girl/woman) does not match the person’s sex at birth” (p. 3).  Transgender policies and legal ramifications are an ever evolving issue for federal and state entities (Green, 2015).  Although the NCAA published an inclusion document for transgender student-athletes in 2011, it clearly states that the purpose of the resource is to provide guidance not solutions.  There are currently no federal laws that govern the participation of transgender students in sport which leave many transgender athletes vulnerable (Acklin, 2017).  Transgender students are already at an increased risk for social isolation and often experience verbal and physical harassment as well as abuse (Buzuvis, 2011).  Sports can play an important role in providing positive mental, social, and physical impacts for transgender students that it would be remiss for organizations and the government not to provide some type of true inclusion (Acklin, 2017).