Intersexuality: Its Role in Sports / What life would you choose?

http://articles.cnn.com/2009-08-20/health/gender.athlete.intersex_1_androgens-intersex-society-ais?_s=PM:HEALTH

Intersexuality is an issue something that has come up several times in sports.  The article posted above is a story about a young South African athlete who was under review because she did not pass the gender test after winning a medal in a race.  This creates a controversy that our society is going to have to come up with a solution in the near future, sooner rather than later.  In which category do we put intersex people:  male or female?  Caster Semenya ran as a female but was questioned based on her masculine looking features.  Because she chooses to run as a female, should we let her?  I think the answer to that question is yes.  Unless all sports are willing to create a category for intersex people, I think we should allow them to participate for the gender they choose, without controversy.  This is a sensitive issue, and the way the media can blow an issue out of proportions can threatened a intersex person’s life.  An intersex woman athlete in 2006 tried to take her own life because of the publicity of her private physiology.  In 2008, a woman runner from Jamaica was under investigation because she tested positive for unusually high levels of testosterone.  Shouldn’t reputable athletic associations be more sensitive to intersexuality?

Something I think that is also very important to discuss is the life that we would choose.  Imagine you were an intersex person.  What would you have wanted your parents to do?  My girlfriend and I have had this discussion before and although we are both very sensitive to the issue, we both said we would decide which gender our child would be, if they were an intersex person.  Although there is a very small chance of this ever happening, it is possible.  Do I think it’s fair for the parents to choose their baby’s gender?  I don’t think it is fair, but I believe it is necessary.  If a person grows up to realize that they are in the wrong body, it can be detrimental.  Although the realization that the person is in the wrong body can be difficult, dealing with intersexuality can be as difficult.  Unfortunately, it is difficult to live in this world being gender ambiguous.  The choice I would make is to make a choice.  In this day and age, if it is the “wrong” choice, that choice can be changed.  But that is just my opinion, what is yours?

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One thought on “Intersexuality: Its Role in Sports / What life would you choose?

  1. Colin, this is a great article, I recall this controversial issue all over the media not so long ago. I also totally agree with giving intersex individuals the choice of what gender they feel they are, or they most identify with. Even though we have come a long way from the days when woman had to act like woman and men had to act like men, and hide their true feelings of being gay or metrosexual. However with intersex individuals I think it’s much harder to find or identify with one specific gender since they have both female and male reproductive systems. Many feel however that giving intersex individuals the same right to compete alongside woman is unfair to woman, due to the high testosterone levels in intersex individuals that might give them more strength and endurance over a normal female. However I strongly believe that an individual should not be judged, or looked down on for simply being an intersex individual. They should be allowed to make their own choice with which they most identify with and should definitely not have to be placed into a special category they should be able to identify with what they most identify with either male, or female. This article was very informative and was spot-on with this week’s readings.

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