Canadian Running | Former Canadian Olympian Bruce Kidd wants gender testing banned
February 2, 2012
Former Canadian Olympian Bruce Kidd says Canada should publicly declare its opposition to gender testing in sport before the London Games this summer.
Kidd, a professor in the faculty of physical education and health at the University of Toronto, competed in the men’s 5,000m race in the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. According to an article on Winnipeg’s Uptown Magazine website, Kidd recently gave a lecture calling for a ban on gender testing in sport.
His talk, titled “The case for gender self-determination: a defense of Caster Semenya against the International Olympic Committee’s gender testing,” argued that gender testing was created in response to a “moral panic around strong women.”
South African runner Caster Semenya created controversy in 2009 after winning the 800m at the World Track and Field Championships. The IAAF ordered her to undergo a gender verification test in response to concerns over her muscular build, deep voice and improved race times. In 2010, the organization cleared Semenya to race.
But Kidd said women’s success in sports is too often seen as unnatural and a threat to male dominance.
“When women get really, really good, their femaleness has tended to be challenged: they’re not really women, they’re dykes, they’re men pretending to be women. Something’s gotta be wrong because real women can’t be that good,” he said.
Instead, Kidd suggests sport stop separating women and men as two separate groups. He said “we need to think of humans as a spectrum of variation.”
Sports should be re-organized such that athletes would compete solely on the basis of ability, he added.
The IOC banned mandatory gender testing in 1999, but Kidd also said he is worried the media frenzy surrounding Semenya could mean the IOC might reinstate compulsory testing before the 2012 games in London.
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Published March 20th, 2012