Tag Archives: sports

Ambiguous sporting bodies

BBC News ran an article today featuring the best news pun I’ve seen this year:

With the Vancouver Winter Olympic Games under way, leading sporting bodies continue to be embroiled in one of sport’s biggest controversies – the gender verification testing of female athletes.

Ahoy! That’s one sporting body you’ve got there!

Actually, it’s a pretty serious article about gender and athletes’ rights in high-level competition and the restrictions sporting bodies like the IOC can impose on athletes. Apparently, some are concerned about unfair advantages that women with ambiguous genitalia might have from elevated testosterone levels. It’s controversial because the IOC medical commission has suggested that those with Disorders of Sex Development may have to seek ‘corrective’ treatment in order to compete. A few activists have questioned whether this is in the interests of the athletes’ health and whether it violates certain rights.

I’m a little confused about the distinction the article makes between sex and gender, but it’s an interesting read. You can find it here: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/in_depth/8511176.stm. It’s certainly a difficult issue to have to make policy on.