Critical Issues

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Emylia Terry, PhD Student and Graduate Research Assistant, School of Public Health - Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, United States

“I Have Kept this Issue of Being Trans Completely Secret”: Gender Norms in Iranian Society and the Experiences of Transgender Men in Sport View Digital Media

Paper Presentation in a Themed Session
Catherine Phipps  

In this study, we examine the complexity of sport participation in Iran amongst transgender (trans) men participating in women’s sport spaces. Using interviews with twelve Iranian trans men across a variety of sports, we consider how binary understandings of gender – alongside gender-related cultural expectations – impact how trans men convey masculinities. In sport spaces, evidence suggests some trans men conceal their true gender identity, while others may reveal it or are ‘outed’ by their peers. Trans men’s gender expression is also monitored and scrutinized, with masculine appearances such as short haircuts discouraged, and in some cases instances of hormone testing apparent for those considered ‘suspicious’. Boundaries of gender are found to be policed by coaches, teammates, and parents, with instances of exclusion, marginalization, and victimization. This paper provides a critical understanding of trans inclusion in sport spaces in Iran; however, the findings may be useful for anyone working to make sport more accessible for gender-diverse people, regardless of geographical location.

What’s in a Name? A Critical Inquiry into the Cost of the NCAA Name, Image, and Likeness Policy View Digital Media

Paper Presentation in a Themed Session
Terry Rentner,  David Burns  

Gender disparity in endorsement pay exists in professional sport. Today, with the NCAA policy allowing college students compensation for their name, image, and likeness (NIL), that gender disparity is even more prevalent. This paper discusses gender pay inequity in collegiate sports sponsorships and endorsements and recommends ways to move toward pay parity. This critical inquiry study uses Friedman et al.’s (2004) stakeholder theory as it presents a framework with descriptive and prescriptive values for sport practitioners and academics. Critical inquiry researchers examine and challenge the status quo and the dominant constructions of reality and power relations as these produce inequalities and lead to marginalization. While college athletes are now able to monetize their NIL, it may literally come at a personal cost. Almost 72% of NIL deals go to men as compared to about 28% to women (Mcavoy, 2023). In football, a male-dominant sport that yields the highest pay among sports, players receive 50.5% of all endorsement dollars; women’s college basketball, in comparison, only receives 11.6% (Opendorse, 2023). Furthermore, only 34% of collectives (groups of donors and alumni) fund female athletes, raising issues of a potential Title IX violation (Christovich, 2023). Gymnastics and basketball - two sports where female student-athletes fare best in NIL endorsements - and some universities are making positive progress to support female-athlete NIL initiatives. In all, the age-old gender disparity that exists in professional sport is trickling down to collegiate sports via NIL contracts. The paper offers communication strategies and recommendations for proactively addressing the issue.

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