Activists protest Olympic ‘gender police’ over sex tests

International LGBTI activists say the new policy for testing if female athletes are ‘real women’ is ‘unscientific, discriminatory and ineffective’

Activists protest Olympic ‘gender police’ over sex tests
26 July 2012

With the 2012 Summer Olympics set to open tomorrow, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) faces a new scandal over its gender testing.

The gender verification policy is designed to determine whether intersex athletes should compete as women or men.

Intersex people may quite naturally produce higher levels of male or female than average for their identified gender.

The new rule says women with levels of testosterone naturally equal to that of a man will be barred from competing with other women. But the IOC doesn’t specify a normal level of hormones would be, leaving it up to a panel of three experts who can disqualify female athletes if they don’t match expectations.

The rules also demand that national Olympic bodies ‘actively investigate any perceived deviation in sex characteristics’ before sending athletes to the games.

International LGBTI digital campaign organization AllOut.org says the policy is too invasive.

They are demanding Olympics President Jacques Rogge reverse it immediately – before the games open tomorrow (27 July).

‘Biology and humans are much more diverse than we would ever guess – what makes someone a man or a woman can’t be identified in a single test or using a single measurement,’ said Andre Banks, director of AllOut.org.

‘The new rule is degrading and humiliating to athletes who’ve worked for years and overcome tremendous obstacles in order to give everything for their sport and country.

‘We don’t ban people from becoming basketball players for being taller than average, or weightlifters for being stronger than average. Athletes are punished for cheating – and the International Olympic Committee already has a battery of tests to maintain the integrity of the Olympic Games.’

The new rules come after a 2009 incident when Caster Semenya, a South African runner was forced by another body, the International Association of Athletics Federations, to undergo 11 months of invasive gender testing after she was deemed too fast and too muscular to be a real woman.

Banks said: ‘The committee already has strict standards and a battery of tests to identify cheaters – this rule is something different. The IOC forces doctors to act as “gender police,” and if they don’t they could face sanctions.

‘It’s an invasion of privacy, it violates medical ethics, and it breeds an environment where if women are too good, they are suspected of cheating. That is the opposite of the Olympic spirit.’

You can see and sign the petition here. The new rules can be downloaded here.

HAVE YOUR SAY

MORE TOP STORIES

No thumbnail available

Teaser for pro-gay marriage advert released

British Coalition for Equal Marriage supporting new military-themed commercial
No thumbnail available

Stephen Fry wants your help on sex health campaign

The 56 Dean Street clinic in London’s gay district, Soho, wants the community to design its next sexual health awareness advert
No thumbnail available

Trans talkshow pulled from South Korean TV

Ground-breaking talkshow pulled after a week following vigorous protests from social conservatives 
No thumbnail available

Designing Woman creator seeking Kickstarter funds to make Bridegroom

Documentary inspired by YouTube video made by Shane Bitney Crone about his partner's death and its aftermath
Survey finds homophobia runs rampant in construction industry

Survey finds homophobia runs rampant in construction industry

Bigotry against LGBT people is at its worst on construction sites and for staff of contracting firms
No thumbnail available
No thumbnail available
No thumbnail available

Nobody rains on Amsterdam's Gay Pride Parade!

Umbrellas and waterproof mascara were a'plenty as parade goers faced the expected storm with aplomb
No thumbnail available

Boy Scouts of America votes to end ban on gay members age 18 and under

But ban against LGBT leaders and volunteers reaffirmed by BSA National Council
No thumbnail available

ISIS militant brands gay people the 'worst of creatures'

LGBTIs are planning to flee Lebanon if Islamic State fighters get in. Those who can’t get out will be targeted for execution, they warn