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IOC on Gender

Caster Semenya

Photo from NYT

The International Olympic Committee recently ruled that Caster Semenya, the South African runner who won the 800-metre gold at the World Athletics Championships this past summer, will be allowed to keep the medal, according to the Times. For those who haven’t been following Semenya’s story, her gender identity was called into question following the competition in Berlin, and the IOC was debating whether she was to be allowed to compete as a woman.

While I commend the IOC for affirming the athlete’s ability to compete based on her self-identified gender, I am abhorred that they view her condition as a “disorder” to be “diagnosed and treated”. I understand the necessity to assure that athletic competition is fair and equal, but I can’t reconcile the strict enforcement of binary gender endorsed by the IOC with self-identified gender and true, fluid, non-binary gender. What do you think?

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