Fighting a system built to exclude queer(ing) bodies: An imperative for athlete wellbeing

Sheree Bekker, K Kolanyane-Kesupile

Research output: Chapter or section in a book/report/conference proceedingChapter or section

2 Citations (SciVal)


Sports organisations are increasingly implementing policies for the regulation of women athletes. These policies, on the surface, appear to be about upholding “fairness” within women’s sports. However, when critically interrogated, it has been shown that these policies disempower, disenfranchise, and are ultimately harmful to athlete wellbeing both physically and emotionally. Further, these policies infringe on athletes’ human rights. Therefore, it is important to recognise that, whilst organisational policy has the power to be used for good, it does not always have the same outcomes for everyone. In positioning sports organisation policy this way, and comparing and contrasting to the views and experiences of a practitioner in this space, a useful device is created to discuss how the implementation of such policies impact on athlete participation and wellbeing, and what can be done to minimise harm. This chapter thus positions sports organisational policy as a mechanism for (unintentional and intentional) organisational violence, leading to poor outcomes around wellbeing. We discuss the wellbeing implications for athletes themselves and provide, via a human rights framework, practical considerations for those concerned with athlete safety and wellbeing.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDeveloping and Supporting the Holistic Wellbeing of Athletes: Person First, Athlete Second
EditorsNatalie Campbell, Alison Tincknell-Smith, Abbe Brady
Place of PublicationLondon, Routledge
ISBN (Electronic)9780429287923
Publication statusAcceptance date - 4 Jan 2021


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