TikTok series TransAthletica delves into transgender participation in sport

Transgender participation in sport is being explored through a new series TransAthletica which is being delivered on the popular social media platform TikTok.

The series was funded by Screen Australia, NZ On Air and TikTok’s Every Voice initiative and new episodes arrive on the social media platform every few days.

The team behind the series also created the popular Rainbow History Class. The new series was created by Rudy Jean Rigg who host the series, alongside director Hannah McElhinney.

Speaking to OUTinPerth Rigg agreed that the series was timely as discussion about transgender participation in sport dominated the federal election.

“We first sort of conceptualised the idea for this documentary almost a year ago, back in 2021. We ended up actually filming the majority of the documentary across the time, when the most vicious and discriminatory comments are being made in the in the media, and so it was extremely timely.

“We are just really grateful that we’re able to make such a positive impact.” Rigg said of the new series.

Rigg grew up playing the sport of Badminton, it was a big part of their family life with all of their relatives involved, but as a non-binary transmasculine person as they got older they wondered where they fitted in.

“Badminton has been incredibly important and extremely fundamental in my life. My participation in badminton goes back three generations, my grandmother actually opened what we believe to be the first badminton school in Australia.

“I really grew up in a very sport focused, sport passionate household. Sport, while I was competitive with badminton, it was a really, really, important facet of how I lead a happy, healthy life.”

The series has regular installments with a new episode being released every few days and Rigg hopes the series allows people to learn more about why sport is important to many transgender people.

“I think the main thing we want to achieve is that people feel like they have learned something. In making this series, it’s really about giving trans people a voice. So I think that the really important thing is that we’re listening and learning from trans voices.

“When it comes to taking something away from the series, I want people to know that inclusion is the most important thing, and it’s really beneficial for everyone all around to have a more inclusive space to support.”

Creating the series has allowed the production team to address some of the many misconceptions about transgender people’s participation in sport.

“What we’ve seen is that there’s a lot of generalisation and stereotypes when it comes to people’s perception of the trans experience, so I think that that’s been sort of the most interesting thing to learn.” Rigg said of the journey the team has been on.

Take a look at TransAthletica on TikTok

Graeme Watson 

This interview was conducted prior to the FINA decision on transgender participation in elite swimming.  

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