The participation of transgender and intersex athletes in sport has been a controversial issue. Since
transgender and intersex women have been assumed to have unfair physical advantages over women,
they have been excluded from women’s competition over the course of the history of the Olympic
Games and other competitive sporting events. On the other hand, in case of the non-competitive sport
events such as at school as well as community athletic meets, the sporting opportunities of
transgender and intersex individuals have started to be encouraged more and more. These exclusive/
inclusive attitudes toward transgender and intersex women suggest that the degree of tolerance
changes depending on the competitiveness/non-competitiveness of the events. The current study,
therefore, examined how the competitive attitudes in general influence the tolerance towards
participation of transgender and intersex individuals in sport events at various athletic levels.
Quantitative data (N=89) ranging in age from 18-65 was gathered from the participants of an LGBT Pride Parade in Nagoya, Japan, regarding their gender and sexual identities, sports experiences, interests in Olympic Games, competitive attitudes, and tolerance towards transgender and intersex athletes participating in sport events, ranging from school and community athletic meets to regional, national and international competitions.
Findings revealed that the tolerance level declines as the competitiveness of the event increases, and that people who highly value competitiveness are less likely to be tolerant, especially regarding the most competitive sport events. This means that the value of competition in female sports and respect for human rights of transgender and intersex athletes contradict and exclude each other in women’s sports, one of the arenas where binaries of gender are so concrete.