Trans Relational Ambivalences: A Critical Analysis of Trans and Gender-Nonconforming Relational (Un)Belonging in Sports Contexts

Lore/tta LeMaster, Alaina Zanin, Lucy C. Niess, Haley Lucero

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This study explores ways trans and gender-nonconforming athletes navigate a sense of relational (un)belonging in sport contexts. Our research reveals dialectic movements between feelings of inclusion/exclusion juxtaposed with the structural being of inclusion/exclusion. More specifically, the feeling of inclusion/exclusion gestures to individual sensed experiences of (un)belonging, while the being of inclusion/exclusion anchors a participant’s individual affective experience navigating binarism vis-à-vis administrative constraints. Taken together, two dialectics—feeling included ↔ being excluded and its dialectic reversal feeling excluded ↔ being included—communicatively constitute what we theorize as “trans relational ambivalences,” which mediate a sense of relational (un)belonging in sport contexts. Our findings implicate settler modes of relating across gender difference, revealing a problem of modernity. Specifically, we reveal a problem in which settler coloniality’s ontological foreclosure on multiplicities produce the communicative effect of individuation. In this regard, our analysis holds inclusion in dialectic tension with exclusion such that the affective experience of one cannot be understood without the structural enactment of the other.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)42-64
Number of pages23
JournalWomen's Studies in Communication
Volume46
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2023

Keywords

  • Binary and binarism
  • relational communication
  • settler colonialism
  • sport communication
  • transgender communication

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Communication

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