Out of the Frame: How Sports Media Shapes Trans Narratives



In this chapter, we explore how sports media define and shape cultural understandings of gender, transness, and the encompassing categories of existence. We analyzed how contemporary print and online sports media defined “transgender” and deployed it as a rhetorical frame. While the coverage seems to celebrate and promote increased access to sporting spaces, phrases such as “transgender participation in sport” or “transgender inclusion” often convey narrow definitions of transness that do not adequately reflect the diversity of trans experience. We found that the sports media coverage, and our collective ability to imagine who trans people are and what their bodies look like, depend on medicolegal categories and white racial frames that erase trans people’s actual experiences. The editorial practices and dominant media themes we found continue to limit access to and experiences within mainstream sports for transgender athletes and reify myths of gender and fair sporting practices.


Sports Med Trans Narratives White Racial Frame Trans People Sports Media Coverage 
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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Health and Sport StudiesUniversity of IowaIowa CityUSA
  2. 2.Kinesiology DepartmentSUNY CortlandCortlandUSA

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