Whether and how trans athletes should participate in sport is a controversial topic. T-Time is committed to ensuring that all those who wish to participate should be able to do so. However, unfortunately we don’t make the rules (yet). At the University of Bath, sports societies are the responsibility of the SU. There are both mixed- and single-gender teams, which may be either recreational or competitive. Trans students are eligible to participate in any mixed-gender sports activities. They are also eligible to participate in some, but not all, single-gender recreational sports as their self-identified gender.
So, what is the policy on trans athletes?
Unlike other SU-affiliated activities, sports do not adhere to the SU Equal Opportunities Policy. Instead, they adhere to the recommendations from British Universities and Colleges Sport and Sport England, which are separate, national organizations. BUCS and Sport England employ different policies for transgender participation depending on the particular sport and level of competition.
As a general rule:
- You should be able to compete in your preferred gender if you have undergone medical transition, which must include hormone treatment, but does not have to include surgery.
- There are restrictions on how soon after treatment you can become eligible for a particular team.
- Otherwise, you will have to compete on the team according to your assigned gender.
However, the situation is somewhat more complicated. Every sport in the UK is overseen by its own National Governing Body, and each of these has its own rules on trans and intersex inclusion. Therefore, students hoping to participate in gender-segregated sport will need to investigate the policy specific to that sport’s particular National Governing Body.
The BUCS Transgender Policy can be viewed here. The Sport England Transgender Policy can be viewed here. (See the document titled, “Transsexual People – Eligibility to Compete in Domestic Competition”.)
This issue is beyond the scope of student life at the University of Bath, and one which the LGBT+ Trans Rep and SU Sport are working to resolve. If you have questions or concerns, you should speak to the LGBT+ Trans Rep or to the SU Sport Officer.