One of the topics that was widely discussed in class was during Week 6 and the topic of gender verification and the case of Caster Semenya. The article that was discussed exposes a lot of the different angles about sex testing, and is clearly on the side for the eradication of the policy that enables gender verification tests.
After a careful examination of the article, the policy that was driving the investigation on Semenya was the 2006 Policy on Gender Verification. This policy was modified and re-released in 2011 named, “Regulations Governing Eligibility of Females with Hyperandrogenism to Compete in Women’s Competition”. Umm. Sorry, could you repeat that? You lost me at females…
The fact that they have changed the name to something so specific, in my opinion, completely contradicts their beliefs and morales behind the policy itself. In the introduction of the policy, it states that the policy was introduced to instil a “respect for the fundamental notion of fairness of competition in Athletics” and a “respect for the very essence of the male and female classification in Athletics”. I firmly believe that this isn’t necessarily the best way to go about this policy, and is the opposite of what sports should be. The ideology of having a fair playing field and having everyone being treated as equals that Olympic sports try to promote is contradicted by the policy that puts athletes that has a genetic difference under the microscope. There is a vast difference between taking extra testosterone than having it born into you due to a genetic fault.
Now I did take a very specific look at the article and found only a small section that rubbed me the wrong way. Overall, I agree with the article in saying that there is a fault in the policy making from the leaders of the Olympic movement, and that if they really do want to keep the integrity of sport and keep decreasing the levels of gender segregation within sport, then a monumental step forward would be to eradicate this policy and continue supporting both males and females with genetic differences and allow them to participate without an asterisk above their stats.
Policing the Boundaries of Sex: A Critical Examination of Gender Verification and the Caster Semenya Controversy. By: Cheryl Cooky and Shari L. Dworkin