Trans Sport Initiative

Name of institution: University of Dundee

Lead Contact: Institute for Sport and Exercise (ISE):

DULGBT+ Society:


Trans Sport Initiative

Supporting access to sports and exercise for trans and gender diverse students across Dundee's colleges and universities

The Trans Sport Initiative (TSI) began through recognition that regular exercise and general good physical health can be positive ways to cope with gender dysphoria. Alex, TSI founder, was working on generally improving his health and fitness whilst studying at the University of Dundee. He developed a gym routine of cardio and weight training, and Alex found that as his body started to change his gender dysphoria began to lessen.

Alex began to discuss his experience with fellow trans and non-binary members of the University of Dundee LGBT+ Society, and they identified that gender dysphoria and financial constraints were the main barriers to accessing sport and exercise within the University. Alex then approached the University of Dundee Institute for Sport and Exercise (ISE) and this led to the founding of the Trans Sport Initiative.

The ISE agreed to give every TSI participant a free 4-week gym membership, a free induction session (individual or group), and two free sessions with a Personal Trainer.  As Alex explains, “this way you can see if this is a technique or coping mechanism that will work for you, without having to spend all your money on a gym membership you then never use”.

All of the Personal Trainers have received trans awareness training, and understand the importance of pronouns, dysphoria, and other possible issues. ISE policy also stipulates that members can use whichever changing rooms they feel most comfortable in. The ISE also provides gender neutral bathroom and locker options.


DULGBT+ Committee Members will accompany trans students to the gym induction, including a tour of the facilities and a meeting with the Personal Trainer to explore whether it is something they would be interested in pursuing. Once students have started, the Trans Sport Initiative offer a buddy system for workouts to encourage and support new members, with the aim of making the gym experience less intimidating.


The Trans Sport Initiative can be accessed by students across the three main Dundee institutions – the University of Dundee, Abertay University, and Dundee and Angus College.


In future, the Trans Sport Initiative aims to:

  • Raise the profile of the Dundee Trans Sport Initiative and work for it to become ultimately self-sufficient.
  • Collect data and empirical evidence on the benefits of this initiative
  • Approach other institutions and private gyms to encourage the adoption of similar initiatives
  • Continue development of partnership work with LEAP Sport Scotland – a national LGBT sports initiative.