The lived experiences of Bisexual, Pansexual, Queer And Non-labelling women in everyday UK sport
: problematising the representation and perpetuation of binaries

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


The identities, experiences and perspectives of people with multiple gender attractions in sport have been largely marginalised within the wider field of sexualities. As a response, this research examined the lived experiences of bisexual, pansexual, queer and non-labelling women in everyday UK sport. In particular, it explored and analysed the existence and reinforcement of a multitude of binaries and how these impact on the participants’ mundane experiences in sport as women with multiple gender attractions. This study ensured the voices of women with multiple gender attractions are heard, represented and valued in sport research.

A qualitative approach was used where 25 women with multiple gender attractions (aged 19-62) were interviewed based on their everyday experiences in recreational sport. Five themes were developed using thematic analysis and in particular, the research demonstrated that binaries are ingrained in these women’s experiences in sport and play a central role in how the participants navigate and make sense of such spaces. Specifically, the three initial themes were called: Bi+ outness: Almost invisible in sport, Bi+phobia in sport: Less explicit, more implicit and Inclusion in sport: The power of representation and normality. Furthermore, the two overarching themes were called: The quietness of bi+ identities in sport and The existence and perpetuation of binaries in sport.

By centralising the broad sporting experiences of women with multiple gender attractions, the difficulties the participants faced as well as the forms of inclusion experienced in such settings, are made apparent and examined. This is currently overlooked specifically within research which exclusively includes participants with multiple gender attractions in sport, as such research tends to only focus on the influence of prejudice and discrimination. This study’s core conceptual contribution is the problematisation of the representation and perpetuation of the multitude of binaries in sport settings. Consequently, this research demonstrated that the influence of binaries is central to understanding these women’s lives in the context of sport. At its core, this research represents a call to make a difference and contribute toward the visibility, understandings and analysis of those with multiple gender attractions in sport research.
Date of AwardOct 2023
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Brighton
SupervisorDaniel Burdsey (Supervisor) & Nigel Jarvis (Supervisor)

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