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Sex TestingGender Policing in Women's Sports$
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Lindsay Parks Pieper

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780252040221

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252040221.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM ILLINOIS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.illinois.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Illinois University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ISO for personal use.date: 28 November 2021

“One of the Most Horrid Misuses of a Scientific Method”

“One of the Most Horrid Misuses of a Scientific Method”

The Development of a Protest

(p.133) 6 “One of the Most Horrid Misuses of a Scientific Method”
Sex Testing

Lindsay Parks Pieper

University of Illinois Press

Although the International Olympic Committee (IOC) sought to differentiate women from men, the methods employed repeatedly illustrated the difficulty in determining the exact composition of womanhood. This chapter argues that rather than showing a clear-cut biological divide, the policy highlighted a range of chromosomal varieties and DNA diversity. The IOC disregarded these well-documented variations and continued testing. Officials never discovered a man posing as a woman; however, several female athletes with biological differences were barred from competition. Eventually, protests by medical authorities and athletes in the 1980s encouraged the IOC to abandon all gender verification practices. For the 1992 Albertville Winter and Barcelona Summer Olympics, the IOC replaced the chromatin exam with PCR testing. Because many people believed that substituting one scientific method with another did not solve the practical nor ethical problems of verification, those who were opposed to laboratory testing continued to fight for the IOC to terminate the practice.

Keywords:   female athletes, womanhood, International Olympic Committee, IOC, gender verification, sex testing

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