Writer, Speaker, Author, Activist
My Letter to the Sports Editor of the New York Times

My Letter to the Sports Editor of the New York Times

 
Click here to see the original posting at the NYT  >>

To the Sports Editor:

Re “No Clear Option for Testing,” June 18: At the 2010 Winter Olympics, a sportscaster said, in reference to the figure skater Johnny Weir, “We should make him pass a gender test.” Another jokingly suggested that Weir compete in the women’s competition. Their comments were deemed homophobic, and they were forced to apologize.

In the case of women like Caster Semenya, however, sporting federations are choosing to cater to this brand of bullying. When comments such as “Look at her, to me she’s not a woman” were made, she was accused of having an unfair advantage.

Many athletes have medical differences that give them a competitive edge but are not asked to have medical interventions to “remove” the advantage. The I.O.C.’s response was that other differences do not call the athletes’ status as male or female into question. The real issue is not fairness, but that certain athletes are not accepted as real women because of their appearance.

If sporting federations wish to demonstrate fairness and equality to all, they should accept that there are many kinds of men and women, and that punishing certain types to appease gender-norm bullies is not acceptable. HIDA VILORIA

Los Angeles

Hida Viloria is an intersex writer and chairperson of the Organisation Intersex International.


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Interesting fact: At approx. 1.7% of the population, Intersex people are as common as red-heads. “Everyone’s met an intersex person, you just may not know you have.”

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