Edinburgh speaker series seminar

Transgender Exigency poster

Speaker: Edward Schiappa (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

Title: The Transgender Exigency: The Case of Sports

Abstract: Clashes over transgender rights often set different types of regulatory definitions in competition in areas normally segregated by sex, such as competitive sports. Biological definitions, based on assigned sex at birth, would categorically exclude transgender athletes from competing in their post-transition gender. Transition-related requirements—such as diagnostic documentation, hormone therapy, or even surgical reassignment—put a greater set of restrictions on trans athletes wishing to compete. Self-definition, minimally based on an athlete’s social transitioning, would be the most-easily achieved regulatory definition to define eligibility. This presentation explores why competitive sports has emerged as an especially challenging area to define sex/gender, and highlights how and why the topic has emerged as a political hot button issue in the run-up to the 2024 national elections. Finding the right balance between competing values of inclusion and fairness in competitive sports promises to be one of the most difficult challenges of what the author describes as the Transgender Exigency.

Further information

The Edinburgh Speaker Series features talks on all areas of philosophy. For information, or to join the email list for these events, please contact Mahrad Almotahari. All are welcome, including all students (MA, MSc, PhD) and faculty in philosophy.


Mahrad Almotahari

Oct 06 2023 -

Edinburgh speaker series seminar

2023-10-06: The Transgender Exigency: The Case of Sports

Room G.06, 50 George Square, Edinburgh, EH8 9LH