Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Alice Dreger on Caster Semenya

I'm not real thrilled about Intersex conditions being described as Disorders of Sexual Development. I prefer Milton Diamond's Difference of Sexual Development, as many Intersexed people don't see their natural state as being disordered, just a natural variation, like red hair.

But I'm not fanatical about it. Words matter, but some matter more than others.

More from ESPN here.

Here's an interesting tidbit from history. After the success of a number of Black women in athletics events in 1948, according to “Coming on strong: gender and sexuality in twentieth-century women’s sport” by Susan K. Cahn p 111
…Olympic governing bodies of the 1950s once again considered eliminating several women’s track-and-field events because the competitors were “not truly feminine”.
In the discussions that followed, Olympic Official Norman Cox sarcastically proposed that rather than ban women’s events, the IOC should create a special category for the unfairly-advantaged “hermaphrodites”, who regularly defeated “normal” women, those less-skilled “child-bearing” types with “largish breasts, wide hips [and] knocked-knees.”
This wasn't based on chromosomes, or hormone levels, it was based on Race. He was talking about Black women. It was based on them not appearing feminine enough by the white standards of the time. Competitors were complaining.

The Olympics committee decided not to pander to prejudice, in 1948 mind you. In 2010, are we to retreat from that?

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