Male/Female or Other

The untold stories of female athletes with intersex variations in India

Authored by: Payoshni Mitra

Routledge Handbook of Sport, Gender and Sexuality

Print publication date:  February  2014
Online publication date:  March  2014

Print ISBN: 9780415522533
eBook ISBN: 9780203121375
Adobe ISBN: 9781136326967


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The gender-verification test, a procedure that has been contested by feminist sport scholars (Griffin, 2010; see Adam Love in this Handbook) was introduced by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in 1968. So-called ‘scientific’ sex testing conducted by the IOC was deemed indispensable when rumours about East European male competitors masquerading as females became widespread. At the height of the Cold War, it was feared that Eastern Bloc countries were trying to win medals by cheating, having men disguise themselves as women to gain unfair advantage in the sporting field. However, the tests that were originally supposed to catch cheats have subsequently become a ‘clumsy model for detecting disorders of sexual development’ (Hercher, 2010).

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