Trans*, female bodybuilding and racial equality: narratives from a Hong Kong Chinese gender-fluid bodybuilder

Bonnie PANG*, Denise Tse-Shang TANG, Siufung LAW

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


This article examines the construction of femininity and sexuality, specifically as trans* intersect with race/ethnicity, in sport. The third author (S.F.’s) lived experiences as a Hong Kong Chinese gender-fluid bodybuilder who competes in international women’s bodybuilding contests serve as an impetus to examine cultural norming and marginalization in professional sport. Narrative analysis and autobiographical memory are used to understand SF’s construction of identities in relation to her sociocultural environment and as a political process that alerts us to the power structures that permit certain stories to be told while silencing others. Specifically, this article problematizes how professional women bodybuilders are being constructed as objects that are expected to embody Whiteness and ‘authentic heightened femininity’. It highlights how the intersection of genderfluidity, race/ethnicity and bodybuilding defy dominant understandings of what is aesthetically, experientially and physically acceptable within the ‘norm’ in both ‘Eastern’ and ‘Western’, and masculine and feminine worlds. The discussion aims to provide implications to moving beyond the enduring binary gendered, racialized and sexual assumptions in women sport.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages13
JournalSport, Education and Society
Early online date29 Jan 2022
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 29 Jan 2022

Bibliographical note

The work contributed by Dr Denise T-S. Tang was supported by Hong Kong SAR Government Research Grant Council [grant number 131107].

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • Tarns*
  • bodybuilding
  • Chinese genderfluid
  • narratives
  • women sport
  • Trans*


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