A1 Journal article (refereed)
“Just Existing Is Activism” : Transgender Experiences in Martial Arts (2022)

Kavoura, A., Channon, A., & Kokkonen, M. (2022). “Just Existing Is Activism” : Transgender Experiences in Martial Arts. Sociology of Sport Journal, 39(2), 196-204. https://doi.org/10.1123/ssj.2021-0004

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editors: Kavoura, Anna; Channon, Alex; Kokkonen, Marja

Journal or series: Sociology of Sport Journal

ISSN: 0741-1235

eISSN: 1543-2785

Publication year: 2022

Volume: 39

Issue number: 2

Pages range: 196-204

Publisher: Human Kinetics Publishers

Publication country: United States

Publication language: English

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1123/ssj.2021-0004

Publication open access: Not open

Publication channel open access:

Publication is parallel published (JYX): https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/79672


This study focuses on transgender experiences in martial arts. Interviews with three Finnish and two British transgender martial artists were thematically analyzed, and findings were interpreted through the lens of queer theory. Two themes were identified related to the ways that transgender martial artists experience their sporting contexts, namely martial arts as an empowering and inclusive context and the challenges related to being transgender in martial arts. Two themes were also identified when it comes to participants’ strategies for coping with cis-/heteronormativity in martial arts. Whenever possible, participants employed social change strategies, whereas other times, they drew on self-care strategies. Following this, we suggest a need for context-specific, protective policies; nonbinary means of organizing sport; and gender diversity education for instructors to better cater for the specific needs of transgender people in sport.

Keywords: gender minorities; transsexualism; trans people; sports; athletes; martial arts; experiences (knowledge); inclusion; activism

Contributing organizations

Related projects

Ministry reporting: Yes

Reporting Year: 2022

Preliminary JUFO rating: 2

Last updated on 2022-20-09 at 13:10