Women (W2STGN) in Sport

I have a hunch that you know who most, if not all, of these athletes are…

But can you name any of these athletes?

Sprinter Elaine Thompson won the 100m dash at the 2016 Rio Olympics

Soccer player Carli Lloyd was named FIFA “Player of the Year” in 2015 and 2016

Hockey player Brianna Decker scored the winning goal in the USA vs. Canada game in 2015

Basketball player Diana Lorena Taurasi has won numerous WNBA Awards


What about these athletes?

Caster Semenya, an intersex athlete, won the 800m dash at the 2009 world championships

Jaiyah Saelua, who identifies as “Fa’afafine,” the third gender in Samoan culture, competed in a men’s FIFA World Cup qualifier for American Samoa in 2011

Harrison Browne, a Transgender man, scored two goals at the 2nd NWHL All-Star Game in 2017

Lauren Lubin, a non-binary athlete, is a former UC basketball player and current marathoner


I can honestly say that I couldn’t before writing this post.


Source Giphy


It is an unfortunate reality that sports are often seen as activities meant for cis-men1. By age 14, the rate of girls dropping sports reaches twice the rate of boys2.Trans people frequently struggle to participate in sports due to debates over which of the two league options (men’s or women’s) they should be allowed to compete in or if they should be allowed to compete at all. Sports often seem to exist within the gender binary. Men’s and women’s sports are separated and have little to no crossover. UBC Rec really wants to see this change!



This year, we have changed our intramural team structure to reflect the welcoming and inclusive vision of UBC Recreation. Our Open/Men’s Category welcomes all individuals to participate regardless of gender, our Women’s (W2STGN) Category welcomes women, Two-Spirit, Trans, and gender non-conforming individuals, and our CoRec Category welcomes all individuals to participate regardless of gender; however, teams must adhere to a maximum number of self-identified men.


Team sports are for everyone. They allow us to stay fit, create long lasting connections, and to take a break from our day-to-day anxieties. Supporting marginalized people in sports is especially important because women, Two-Spirit, Trans, and gender non-conforming folks are less likely to participate. Our Women’s (W2STGN) league is made to be a safe and welcoming space for these people. Creating a team in this category is a great way to create companionship and foster fun competition within a group of people who have might have similar physical capabilities and/or similar life experiences!



As Trans basketball player Kye Allums says, “Strength is not a measure of hormones or testosterone. A lot of the strength comes from your heart and what you work for. Sports is about winning. It’s about competing. It’s about respect. It’s about heart. It’s about teamwork. And it’s about playing the game. It’s not about what’s underneath your jersey.”3

So gather a group, get excited, and register for our Women’s (W2STGN) Leagues by September 18th! If you are a free agent, we have a lot of resources available for finding a team.

1. “Cis” referring to “cisgender” which is defined as “people whose sex assignment at birth corresponds to the societal normative gender identity and expression.” Terminology credit to UBC’s Positive Space website.

2. Sabo, D. and Veliz, P. “Girls drop-out at different rates depending on where they live.” Go Out and Play: Youth Sports in America. East Meadow, NY: Women’s Sports Foundation. 2008.

3. Steinmetz, Katy. “Transgender Athletes Seek to Play Youth Sports.” Time, Time, 16 July 2015.

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As mentioned above, we have revisited our Intramurals Participation Structure policies in an effort to improve the inclusivity of our programs. There are different team structures that depend on the gender expression and identity compositions of a team. We have updated the names and descriptions of these different structures to better describe the competition environments in each. For more information on gender identity and gender expression please visit our Inclusive Recreation: Gender Identity and Expression page.