Gender verification in sports

Gender verification in sports (also sometimes loosely referred to as Sex determination) is the issue of verifying the eligibility of an athlete to compete in a sporting event that is limited to a single gender. The issue arose a number of times in the Olympic games where it was alleged that male athletes attempted to compete as women in order to win, or that a natural intersex competed as a woman. Sex testing began at the 1966 European Track and Field Championships in response to suspicion that several of the best women athletes from Soviet Union and Eastern Europe were actually men. At the Olympics, testing was introduced in 1968 at the Mexico City games. While it arose primarily from the Olympic games, sex determination affects any sporting event. However it appears it most often becomes an issue in elite international competition.

The test

At its introduction, sex determination testing involved the athlete parading naked in front of a panel of gynecologists. The IAAF, on the other hand, abandoned gender verification altogether starting in 1992, since it was felt that males masquerading as females was unlikely given that the administration of doping tests involved the athlete producing a urine sample under an official's scrutiny.

Nowadays, sex determination tests typically involve evaluation by gynecologists, endocrinologists, psychologists, and internal medicine specialist.


The article also states:

"Gender verification has long been criticized by geneticists, endocrinologists, and others in the medical community. One major problem was unfairly excluding women who had a birth defect involving gonads and external genitalia (i.e., male pseudohermaphroditism). ... A second problem is that only women, not men, were stigmatized by gender verification testing. Systematic follow-up was rarely available for female athletes "failing" the test, which often was performed under very public circumstances. Follow-up was crucial because the problem was not male impostors, but rather confusion caused by misunderstanding of male pseudohermaphroditism."

The International Association of Athletics Federations too stopped conducting the tests in 1991. However the Olympic Council of Asia continues the practice.

New rules permit transsexual athletes to compete in the Olympics after having completed sex reassignment surgery, being legally recognized as a member of the target sex, and having undergone two years of hormonal therapy.

Notable incidents

See also

External links

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