Non-binary identities have become increasingly visible in recent years and there are increasing demands for the recognition and inclusion of non-binary people across different areas of social life. In sports, however, most opportunities to participate and compete are divided into two mutually exclusive female and male categories, which makes it difficult and often impossible for non-binary people to be included in a way that recognises and respects their gender identity. Building on a research project with non-binary athletes and sports organisers, I will examine the barriers that non-binary people face in accessing sports spaces, communities, and competitions, and I will consider some key strategies through which these barriers could be overcome to enable non-binary inclusion in sports. When taken together, these strategies suggest that genuine inclusion requires us to think about not only how gender operates in sports, but also about alternative ways to understand the meaning and value of sports itself.
Dr Sone Erikainen (they / them) is a lecturer in sociology at the University of Aberdeen, where their research and teaching focuses on gender, sex difference, and health, especially concentrating on gender diversity, trans and non-binary identities and bodies, and intersex and diverse sex characteristics in the context of sports, health and medicine. They are the author of Gender Verification and the Making of Female Body in Sport: A History of the Present, and a co-editor of TERF Wars: Feminism and the Fight for Transgender Futures as well as a co-editor of the forthcoming collection Hormonal Theory: A Critical Glossary.