Coaching Association of Canada
Canadian Journal for Women in Coaching

Transgender and non-binary athlete needs: Challenges and best practices

April 1, 2023   •   Vol. 23, No. 2

Amelie Keyser-Verreault and Guylaine Demers

This article aims to describe the issues and best practices when including transgender (trans) and non-binary people in sports to create safe, welcoming, and inclusive sports environments. It complements the article published on April 2019 (Vol. 19, no. 1) in which the results of three interviews with trans women were presented. Four years later, the conversation (or lack of conversation) on including transgender athletes in sport is intense and polarizing.

This can be explained, among other reasons, by the lack of information about the inclusion of trans and non-binary people in sports in Canada. Given the scarcity of guidelines, the various situations experienced by individuals from these historically marginalized groups are managed on a case-by-case basis by various stakeholders in the sport community, who are minimally equipped, if it all.

These stakeholders, not necessarily having expertise on the subject, can be influenced by conscious or unconscious biases on the issue of transgender and non-binary identities. The purpose of this article is to present some of the issues experienced by trans and non-binary athletes and to give them the floor to share practices that promote inclusion. We will therefore present guidelines proposed by 25 trans and non-binary athletes that we met with as part of a research project that is currently underway ( The various Canadian sports organizations and coaches will be able to draw inspiration from it to better promote the inclusion of these athletes.

By presenting guidelines, suggested by trans and non-binary athletes themselves, authors Amelie Keyser-Verreault and Guylaine Demers, both of whom are experts in gender equality in sport, hope that Canadian sport leaders, and especially coaches will be inspired to become agents of inclusion. And what a difference that will make to many people currently struggling to find their rightful place in our sport system. – Sheila Robertson, Journal Editor.

The views expressed in the articles of the Canadian Journal for Women in Coaching are those of the authors and do not reflect the policies of the Coaching Association of Canada.