Monday, July 12, 2010

Home Again!

We are home from our travels. I was disconnected from cyberworld for eight days while we were on a Grand Canyon raft trip – Amazing! Absolutely no contact with the outside world for eight days. It was pretty cool, but left me wondering what international calamities we would face when we got back to civilization. Though we had absolutely no access to the outside world in the canyon, I had to take my Blackberry with me, buried deep in my dry bag in a waterproof pouch. Somehow it managed to die anyway, so I had to make a quick trip to Verizon for a replacement in Las Vegas.

Last week the powers that be ruled that Caster Semenya can compete as a woman. I must admit that I did not give them enough credit because I feared they would ban her from future competition. I am happy to be surprised. They also refused to release any information about Caster’s medical review which I also applaud.
Next, I am hoping that, at the meeting of international sport governing organizations scheduled to take place in the next few months, guidelines for inclusion of women athletes who are intersex (or have disorders of sexual development, as the docs prefer) will be changed so that women who live and identify as women and are intersex will be eligible to compete, period.

The stumbling block is resistance from sports leaders and competitors who fear that allowing women athletes who are intersex to compete in women’s events will upset “the level playing field” in women’s sports. I think we are singling out intersex athletes as a threat to the so-called level playing field when there are so many ways that the playing field is tilted in favor of some athletes over others that we just accept as part of the competition. How come?

Related to this is the need to revise the process for challenging a competitor’s eligibility to compete in women’s events. Right now, just about anyone can challenge any competitor on just about any prejudiced notion of what a woman is supposed to look, act and perform like. We have already seen what kind of travesty this procedure can cause in the horribly botched process last summer when Caster Semenya was challenged.

I’ll write more on this later. Just wanted you to know I am back and I’m blogging again.


Harriet Schwartz said...

Hi Pat, Not sure whether you remember me, but we have spoken on a few occasions. I have appreciated your work for years! And now I appreciate following your blog. Right now I'm reading "Taking the Field" Women, Men, and Sports" by Michael Messner.

I was just wondering what you think are the central texts re: gender and sports (and also GLBTQ and sports)? I'm looking both for the essential works over time and also perhaps the current works that you think are important.

Harriet Schwartz

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