BY Advocate.com Editors
January 22 2010 7:25 PM ET
A panel of medical experts told the International Olympic Committee
that gender identity among athletes should be treated as a medical
concern, not one of fairness in competition.
According to TheNew York Times,
the group met in Miami Beach, Fla., for two days to come to their conclusion.
They said that athletes, particularly female athletes, who have medical
disorders that give them masculine characteristics should be diagnosed
and treated. They recommended that eligibility for competition be weighed on an
Panel members said the athletes’ health might be endangered if their disorders are not diagnosed and treated.
who agree to be treated will be permitted to participate,” said Maria New, a panelist and an expert on sexual development disorders.
“Those who do not agree to be treated on a case-by-case basis will not
The recommendations ask sports authorities to
send photographs of athletes to experts in order for the expert to
determine if the athlete might have a sexual development disorder. The
expert would then give a recommendation suggesting further testing or
Some athletes objected to the panel's conclusions. “If you start to do this, you are making a joke
of the fact that there are two classifications — male and female,”
said Doriane Coleman, a Duke University law professor and former 800-meter
runner. “They might as well open it up and have women competing
The issue of gender ambiguity among elite athletes has
come to the fore after South African runner Caster Semenya's
performance at the 2009 International Association of Athletics
Caster's appearance and improvement in performance led some to question if she was indeed a woman, and she underwent gender testing, the results of which have not been released.
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