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Project Overview

The Differences in Sex Development (DSD) and Transgender Elite Sport (DATES) Study is a research project started in July 2021 tackling one of the most pressing and sometimes sensitive debates in world sport. The study is currently underway at the A-STEM research centre, Swansea University. The research team, led by Dr Shane M Heffernan, have many years of experience and publications in elite sport, athlete physiology, genetics, inclusion and anti- discrimination in sport, sport integrity, ethics and diversity policy and clinical sexology. Currently, global sporting policies are being developed, adapted, scrapped and rewritten rapidly, yet there has been little peer-reviewed evidence of the opinions of key stakeholders involved in high performance sport to help shape these policies. This is despite the International Olympic Committee calling for both peer-reviewed evidence and stakeholders’ opinions, and the potential significance of this knowledge as these policies have life changing impacts on individual athletes, the wider athletic community and the public image of sport. Over the next number of years, the DATES Study will recruit athletes and fundamental stakeholders (e.g. sport board members, policy makers, academics and sport lawyers) to produce ethically and respectfully conducted research findings that will help inform policy development and hopefully result in more robust eligibility criteria, as they relate to transgender and DSD athletes.

The aim of the project is to objectively and unbiasedly (as possible) generate peer-reviewed evidence of key stakeholders’ opinions on the inclusion and eligibility of transgender and DSD individuals in elite sport. The current focus is to provide evidence from current and retired World Class, Elite and National level athletes.

Excitingly we are recruiting athletes and individuals involved in policy commentary and development (e.g. academics, sport body members, academics and lawyers). If you would like more information about the study and potentially completing one of our questionnaires and/or interviews aimed at gaining insights into opinion towards transgender and DSD athletes inclusion in elite sport, get in touch at our study email address.

To keep up to date with our findings, follow us on X @TheDATESStudy

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