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Presentation made at the Play the Game Conference 2011 in Cologne
TRYING TO VERIFY
THE "PROPER" GENDER OF ATHLETES
Gender verification is a serious issue, actually a dead serious issue, and is has a long and sad history within sport.
But let me start by mentioning two very recent initiatives related to the gender issue in sport.
Earlier this year the “Court of Arbitration for Sport” has approved jurisdiction to take on a legal case against the International Olympic Committee, under the headline: “Human Rights and the Oppression of Women´s Gender in International Sport”. The outcome of this may very well bring about one of the biggest changes of all times in international sport.
A “Gender Pin Badge” has been designed for London 2012 and was unveiled on September 15th in the presence of London 2012 chief executive Paul Deighton, and the minister for Sport and the Olympics Hugh Robertson, and the deputy secretary general of the Council of Europe, Maud de Boer-Buquicchio.
Mr. Deighton stated: “Our vision is as bold as it is simple – to use the power of the Games to inspire change, and one way of showing our support for a sporting environment built upon equality and inclusion”
In the written information it was stated that the pin would be on sale later the same week on the “London 2012” web shop. However it did not appear there, and when I contacted the web shop about it on September 30, I received the reply that they were unable to come up with any information as to when it would be available.
Whether it ever will be available remains to be seen.
I doubt it very much that the extremely prominent dignitaries mentioned, know what it is all about, and what is actually meant with these fine words, or that they know the long terrifying history of gender testing at the Olympic games by the IOC.
It is just a depressing example of how the IOC, by issuing a gender pin, is trying to deceive the world into believing that “equality and inclusion” will be ensured through the games.
In the society of man it has for centuries been an almost undisputed fact that the human race is comprised of the two sexes – male and female. However, from mid last century and up till now, it has become more and more clear that this is, indeed not the case, and now it has been widely realized that male and female are not two completely opposite entities, and that instead they are at each end of a line, on which, the now more and more recognised multi variations of intersex conditions are positioned.
In fact, the opinion has been voiced that all of us have, to a smaller or greater extent, some degree of intersex condition – that we are all positioned somewhere on that line.
It is today the general conservative assumption, that out of 2.000 newborn babies, 1 is born with some kind of INTERSEX CONDITION, and for example it is estimated that presently there are living, in UK alone, more than 100.000 persons with such a condition – obviously with the number increasing all the time.
During the last some 50 years, international sport, and especially the IAAF, the world athletic organisation and the IOC have been acting solely on the outdated assumption that there should be two sexes, and only two sexes, and that any deviation, especially from what – according to their medical experts - constitutes the female gender, should be found and dealth with.
The so called medical experts have, during these 50 years and until today, in their ignorance, performed this with various medical procedures and techniques, which one by one has proven to be inadequate, insufficient or just plain impossible
– pure mumbo jumbo, and so they have had to discard them all, one by one.
Since 1996 the only text, and the only information, about gender verification in the rules of the IAAF, as well as in those of the IOC has been the following:
“The Medical Delegate shall also have the authority to arrange for determination of the gender of an athlete should he judge that to be desirable”
At the world athletic congress in 2003 I raised the question of gender verification, asking for detailed guidelines, like the existing ones concerning doping, so that everyone involved could know what it was all about, but I was brushed off by the Chairman of the IAAF medical commission, Mr. Arne Ljungquist, who, with great assurance uttered that they most certainly knew what they were doing concerning gender testing.
At the next world congress in 2005 I again submitted a proposal along with substantial background material, and a paper which I had named:
“The Major Medical Blunder of the 20th Century”
However, the material was sabotaged by IAAF, so that only a small part of it was included in the congress papers, and when I critisized this at the congress, the IAAF president, Lamine Diack denied me my democratic right of speaking further on the subject, while Arne Ljungquist, once again, assured the assembly that he and the IAAF most certainly knew what they were doing.
In the paper I also made a suggestion that the question of a third gender should be considered as a possible solution to the problems. In 2005 they would not even listen to it. Now, 6 years later, Arne Ljungquist takes up on this issue.
In 2009, at the world championships of athletics in Berlin, a South African athlete by the name of Caster Semenya became the world champion in the 800m for women, but was shortly after deprived of the title and excluded from competitions by the IAAF.
Soon it was known to all the world that this frail young girl at 18, coming from a small African village had some problems with her gender identity – that she was not a real girl – imagine that, to be exhibited as some kind of monster, and have her most intimate parts, physically and psychologically put on such public display, and being informed about it on TV.
The IAAF has never been very good at discretion in such cases, but this one most certainly takes the prize.
Shortly after, the general secretary of IAAF, Pierre Weiss was quoted by Associated Press for saying: “We are obliged to act. It would have been better if we had been prepared to, but we were not prepared”
So, they were not prepared.
In spite of the repeated assurances by Arne Ljungquist, in spite of rejecting to discuss the issue at congress, and even sabotaging proposals about improvement, it became painfully clear to everybody, that they were not prepared, that the IAAF did not know at all what to do.
In spite of showing off as the all-knowing body of athletics, in spite of all their experts, they had arrived at point zero, having done everything wrong for 50 years.
This was further underlined by the fact that it took IAAF and IOC, where Arne Ljungquist had now been promoted to Chairman of the IOC medical commission, probably on former merits in the IAAF, it took those two bodies almost a year – and mind you, now in utter and complete secrecy – to arrive at a conclusion, which meant that IAAF had to go back on its decision and reinstate Caster Semenya, most certainly paying a huge sum for lost prize money and for everything else that this horrendous affair had cost her in terms of uncertainty, stigmatization, disgrace and the possible psychological affects of all this during that very long period, which no amount of money can make up for.
All along through most of these 50 years Arne Ljungquist has been the man with the overall and main responsibility for gender testing, firstly within IAAF and now within the IOC, and it is beyond me how he himself, with his history, can continue in charge of this, and as chairman of the IOC medical commission, and how on top of 50 years of failure, he can be allowed to do so, by the responsible bodies. I can only urge him to have the decency to step down.
The same goes for the president of IAAF, Lamine Diack, who, apart from being overall responsible, also is personal responsible for preventing me in having the issue discussed in congress – and therefore also directly responsible for the fact that the IAAF was not at all prepared for this, and once again a young athlete was to take all the blame and punishment.
Professor Bruce Kidd, Canada
Georg Facius, Denmark
Professor Arne Ljungqvist, Sweden