Gender in Sport: A New Pressure Group

News has come across my desk of a new pressure group that aims to redefine the way that sporting authorities look at gender. It is headed by the openly trans Canadian cyclist, Kristin Worley. The long term aim of the group is to move sport away from division by the artificial, socially-determined category of gender and towards a definition based the abilities of the athletes. Apparently the paralympics work this way — there are different categories of competition based on the level of disadvantage that the athlete’s condition confers.

Somehow I suspect that this will be a very long-term project, but I definitely agree that it is crazy that some accidents of birth are treated as allowable, even though they confer great advantage, while others, because they cause the athlete’s gender to be called into question, result not only in sporting sanctions but public humiliation. If Worley and her colleagues can do something to prevent further occurrences of the sort of treatment meted out to Caster Semenya and Santhi Soundarajan that will be a very good thing.