Smoph's musings

Just my thoughts on the world

Gender identity

Caster-Semenya-001

Photo from http://www.theguardian.com

Many of you will know that the issue of gender identification is one close to my heart. The horror of it all is that not even biology can truly account for what you feel and present as.

This is why I read with horror that they are “gender testing” female South African runner, Caster Semenya. For anyone not in the know, they did gender testing on a number of female athletes in the 1960s. The trouble with gender testing is that it may reveal that you are not, on a genetic level, female.

Let’s disregard the impact that it has on your choice of career as a professional sportswoman. Instead, think about the impact it would have on you as a woman. With these tests, you can be told that your whole identity is a lie. That you will never have children. Not to mention the way people will look at you and react to you, for the genes you inherited.

I can imagine the stigma from this testing would change women’s attitudes to themselves and may lead to serious emotional implications. I’m disappointed to see this regression in the sporting community, especially when the International Olympic Committee banned it last century.

When will we get past the need for gender boxes? Drug test, sure, but gender testing? Not on!

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  1. is that true? i wondered why it was going to take them so long to do the gender testing. i thought it would just be a matter of looking at her bits. i have a lot to learn…if that’s the case, then i agree it’s wrong. what kind of devastation would that wreak – finding out what you thought you were is not the case after all? how do you come back from that?

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  2. Yes, it is the case. The ‘diagnosis’ involves a whole bunch of testing, most of it quite invasive. And that’s my point. Where do you draw the line about telling people who they are?

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