Transgender women in women's sports: An anonymous survey of women athletes' opinions

If you are not a woman:
Consider sharing this with your athletic women friends.

Feel free to click the link below but do not engage in responding.

If you are a woman:
Click away!

I believe other women will be grateful for your thoughtful response, based on the preliminary aggregate results I have seen.

An anonymous survey of women athletes’ opinions about transgender women in women’s sports

Responses are 100% anonymous. I only review the aggregate results once a day so as to eliminate my ability to identify potential respondents based on their timing of response.

Recent rulings in sport changing transgender women’s participation away from women’s fields.

Reason survey exists:
To give women a place to safely voice their thoughts and feelings without fear of social backlash.

A debate on another forum (slowtwitch) followed the recent GB tri ruling. It was dominated by men. A woman commenter called that out. The founder said there should be a poll. I wrote the poll. Women responded positively to the existence of the poll.

Preliminary feedback:
The results thus far have been far less polarized, more thoughtful and considerate, and less hostile than I expected. I’ve been grateful for the optional written insight that many of the responding women have provided.

The candid, emotional and thoughtful feedback from both “sides,” for lack of a better word, has honestly given me hope in humanity.

I believe it will do the same, regarding faith in humanity, for women and men alike, once published.

Maybe it’s just that women are generally wonderful in their thoughtfulness and their writing, and men regress on forums to emotionless and tactless arguing in the name of debate.

The most conclusive results:

  1. Based on the current survey results, let’s just say that both the TrainerRoad & Slowtwitch forums would be far better off if many of the women respondents were more active users.
  • I don’t think it’s their burden to become such. I think it’s the burden of the present (mostly men) users of forums to make them a more inviting and more understanding place of why someone may have a view that opposes our own, if we wish to include their presence. (At least, that’s why my wife, @michelleihowe, who is a forum lurker, says she doesn’t get involved, and she also reports that she has women peers who feel the same.)
  • If you have ever received a response from me that expressed understanding, empathy, or compassion, please direct your thanks to Michelle. If ever you have received a response from me that felt hostile, closed off, or unempathetic, that’s 100% me.
  1. The large majority of respondents have been happy that the survey exists, (almost 80% positive; the remainder neutral or did not answer that question; with 0% reporting unhappiness that it exists) when asked in a question after the survey.
    I have since added a question about the existence of the survey to the very beginning, to reduce the likelihood of losing valuable voices because of possible negative emotions surrounding the survey contents, though I haven’t yet had report of that. I will not assume that that has not happened just because it was not reported.

I am exceedingly grateful for each of you who have responded to this survey so far. Truly humbling and inspiring.

All raw data will be public access, once I release it. I may release in phases, as results grow.

Exact survey wordings will be published alongside the results, always.

It will not be in a scientific journal.

This is purely an open access survey.

I welcome your criticism:
I hope I have hit the mark here. But I have probably missed it. I have enjoyed coaching trans and cis women and have sought input from both, of course.

Let me know if you think I have missed the mark, or if there are question changes or removals, wording improvements, or complete overhauls, that I could make for more fair and accurate answers.

I will attempt to improve the survey and make all future updates public record, alongside dates and details of such updates.

Feel free to criticize both me, and the survey, publicly or in private. I look forward to your feedback. There is no reason to be gentle with me.

If anyone criticizes you for the feedback you provide me publicly, I will go to bat for you first. You are the one putting yourself in a vulnerable position.

If you have trans women who you know personally, and whom you think would be willing and interested to provide input, or respond in the survey, please share with them specifically. I want to ensure all women’s voices are included, while being sensitive to the personal experiences and wishes of each individual.

I have abstained from seeking trans women community members out directly if I do not know them personally, because it isn’t their job to educate cis people about how to be respectful and fair to them. I have reached out to those who I am close to, and whom I know would be personally interested in answering.

With that in mind, please disclose this to your trans women friends as something they have access to, letting them know that their input is welcome and invited, but also that it is not expected whatsoever, and that I have done, and will continue to do my best, to treat them with the respect, compassion, and privacy that they, and all humans, deserve.

Negatives of public discussion:
I understand I have thrust forth into public domain a discussion of other people’s lives, and not my own, and that there are real individual people being affected by the mere presence of this conversation, both here on this forum, and more broadly in the world. I am not blind to this impact, and hope that the net effect will be benefit for all women.

My above wishes are more likely to be true if we all keep our empathy shoes firmly laced up, at all times.

I would love for this thread to be allowed to remain open on this forum, but I don’t foresee that being possible if hostile comments necessitate frequent flagging.

To TR admin:
I am grateful for you having let this topic be addressed in other threads, and also grateful that you moderated each of those to keep the debate respectful. I understand and respect the closure of the more recent one. I apologize for the extra work I may have created for you today. If you specifically have any feedback here, I will weight it more highly than others, because this is your forum and I’m grateful to be a small part of it.

To all:
I hope that each user in this forum would first place themselves firmly in the shoes of the opposing “side,” if they find themselves feeling compelled to share a “for or against” type of statement, link, article, claim, etc, and I’d encourage you to fully marinate in those shoes, before sharing a thought. Put yourself there. Attempt (and fail as I do) to feel all the feelings you believe likely to be felt by someone who might hold the opposing view when they read your comment, or when they see the presence of this thread at all, with all the possible life experiences they may have endured, to the best of your imaginative and empathetic ability.

I think doing the above will take the edge off of many comments one might post. I know it does for me. (Again, please thank Michelle for me even knowing what the word “empathy” means).

A final note:
I am open to being told that this is one giant virtue signal, and shameful. (I have not yet, but maybe should be.)

I am open to being told that this is an embarrassing display of a straight white cis man savior complex. (I have not yet, but also maybe should be.)

If you feel compelled to argue or criticize anyone at all, whether they are involved in this thread, or not present at all, please direct it first at me, since I have reopened this very hot and emotionally charged topic.



Have appreciated the 20+ more responses the survey has garnered from those of you sharing it.

And for the feedback I’ve received in private.

1 Like

Final bump here.

Each time it’s at the top of the thread list I get more valuable and meaningful responses, so bumping it again since it appears to be being shared with potential respondents.

To those expressing concerns for anonymity (which is the first checkbox in the first question), consider this:

“man writes anonymous survey, then exposes individual women’s opinions publicly” doesn’t have a good ring to it.

I’ll be guarding anonymity like my career, livelihood, and my reputation ride on it. :slight_smile:
(and the google form is set up so that I have zero access to any personal or identifiable data anyway)

1 Like

Okay sorry… one more thing. WOW there are a lot of women with terminal degrees responding. 40% of women respondents have PhD, JD, MD, or other “terminal” degree.

Apparently forum users who take surveys on forums are highly degreed folks.

Would be cool to get this link shared with some folks in the under 25 years old category, and who don’t have a wall full of degrees, if you know anyone interested.

Just found this, also going to share (but this will only give you more women with degrees :sweat_smile:).

Maybe share it with trainers of younger teams?

Are the results posted? Seems it’s more timely now than ever.


Just came across this survey, took it, and will share it. I would love to see the results!

Please feel free. But also please read below so that I may set expectations.

I need a data analyst to pull together the data well and write a results section. There will be no discussion section. Just presentation of results.

I just don’t have time to touch it right now. The combination of a couple family members in need, one youth family member in particularly in great need, and growing into my position as CEO of our rapidly growing software company leaves me with less than zero bandwidth.

It needs a highly delicate, empathizing, balanced and ethical touch. I carefully wrote the questions originally and was willing to iterate with wording improvements over time, as I received feedback from various stakeholders. Those small wording improvements make the data analysis and presentation a very manual and time-intensive process, requiring even more thoughtful consideration. I can offer no date for when I’ll present the info. I’m not even sure I could run a brief interview to verify that any volunteer analysts were empathic enough and completely fair-minded in their data presentation. And I’m certainly not sure I’m fit to judge a person on those qualities when the stakes and tensions are as high as they can be with this topic.

If one thing is for sure, we all have more empathy and compassion for opposing views than the extremes seen in both sides of the media, when responses are made anonymous, private, and not interactive. (well, at least the women respondents present in this forum and elsewhere do).


Well that is too bad but maybe in the future you’ll find the time. Personally I don’t have a strong feeling either way and would like to learn more. Everything out there is so biased it’s hardly worth reading. This seemed like something genuinely new and relevant. I hope it happens someday :slight_smile:

That’s hilarious, it’s like you’re carefully handling an unexploded bomb! It’s just data!

Well, he obviously feels that there (presumably) aren’t any other anonymous “polls” out there that address this issue as well, and knows that it will be scrutinized, so wants it to hold up to that scrutiny and be defensible.

So, it’s data of interest to you and I, but as we’ve seen from some other threads in the last couple weeks, there are individuals on all sides that won’t agree with the final tally, and will fervently try to discredit the process and data. There’s probably some “danger” in just putting out the raw data and letting people draw their own conclusions, too.