Glitching trans* athletes: Possibilities for research and practice in sports coaching

Eva Linghede*, LAURA PURDY, Natalie Barker-Ruchti

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
3 Downloads (Pure)


The international discussion about policies regulating the inclusion of transgender athletes in elite sports is ongoing. In the time of writing this paper, World Rugby banned trans women from playing women’s rugby; the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced a revision of their transgender guidelines; and in the United Kingdom, the Sports Councils Equality Group (SCEG) recognised that transgender policies could be improved with the addition of ‘open’ and ‘universal’ to the existing male and female categories. In this paper, we introduce the metaphor ‘glitch’ to provide a novel way to embrace the possibilities of trans athletes in sport. To do this, we feature three Swedish cases of transgender athletes to consider: (1) What do “trans” and “trans athlete” mean from a glitch perspective? (2) What does this metaphor help us critique regarding sport’s dual gender categorisation that excludes trans athletes? and (3) How can glitch be a source to generate new ways to understand trans athletes? In thinking with glitch, the article demonstrates that the “problem” of current trans discussions are not the bodies that for one reason or another transcend certain (gender) categories, but rather the dualistic categories themselves. Glitching athletes, trans or otherwise, help us turn what is taken for granted upside down and inside out and in so doing, can help coaches, coach educators, and coaching researchers explore and elaborate the possibilities of trans athletes in relation to their everyday sporting practices.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSports Coaching Review
Early online date20 Oct 2021
Publication statusPublished - 27 Oct 2021


  • Glitch theory
  • transgender
  • sports coaching
  • transcending dual gender categories


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