IOC executive board says 'transgendered' athletes can compete in Athens Olympics
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)—“Transgendered” athletes will compete in the Summer Olympics in Athens if they meet guidelines adopted by the International Olympic Committee’s executive board.
The “sex reassignment (male to female and vice versa)” guidelines were adopted by the board at the IOC headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland, in a May 17 meeting. An “ad hoc committee” initially approved the guidelines in late October, according to an IOC news release.
The sex-change guidelines prompted one cultural commentator, R. Albert Mohler Jr., to note that the IOC announcement came in “a week already infamous for sexual confusion,” referencing the court-ordered same-sex “marriage” licenses that became available May 17 in Massachusetts.
The IOC’s sex-change policy and the Massachusetts same-sex licenses are the “latest signs of sexual insanity,” Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., wrote in his weblog at Crosswalk.com May 19.
The guidelines also were criticized by a transgendered activist, Jamison Green, author of “Becoming a Visible Man” who was born as a female but told CNN he is “definitely a man.”
Complaining about the surgical reconstruction required under the IOC guidelines, Green told CNN, “Many female-to-male people can’t afford to have genital reconstruction, so I think that’s an unreasonable penalty.”
The IOC’s Medical Commission chairman, Arne Ljungqvist, described some of the rationale in a written statement, noting, “Although individuals who undergo sex reassignment usually have personal problems that make sports competition an unlikely activity for them, there are some for whom participation in sport is important.”
IOC medical director Patrick Schamasch, meanwhile, told the media that the issue of transgendered atheletes “has been something of an open door. We needed some rules and regulations in place.”
The IOC guidelines are divided into two categories: “before puberty” and “after puberty.”
For sex changes before puberty, the prospective Olympians are accepted as the genders they became.
After puberty, however, the guidelines set three conditions:
“Surgical anatomical changes have been completed, including external genitalia changes and gonadectomy,” or removal of ovaries or testes.
“Legal recognition of their assigned sex has been conferred by the appropriate official authorities.”
“Hormonal therapy appropriate for the assigned sex has been administered in a verifiable manner and for a sufficient length of time to minimize gender-related advantages in sport competitions.”
Additionally, the IOC guidelines statement includes an “opinion” that “eligibility should begin no sooner than two years after gonadectomy.”
The guidelines also note, “It is understood that a confidential case-by-case evaluation will occur. In the event that the gender of a competing athlete is questioned, the medical delegate (or equivalent) of the relevant sporting body shall have the authority to take all appropriate measures for the determination of the gender of a competitor.”
News of the IOC guidelines was reported in news services, newspapers and other media outlets not just across the United States but also in China, India, Pakistan, Singapore and other countries.
Baptist Press sought comments from, among others, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and former Olympian Jim Ryun, now a congressman from Kansas, but none were received as of Baptist Press’ May 19 deadline.
Mohler, in his Crosswalk.com weblog, asked, “Can you believe this? ... Can you imagine the official challenges that will surely be presented to officials at the Athens Olympics? Now that this policy is adopted, every nation has the right to question the gender of any competitor -- and perhaps for good reason! A losing athlete's country can now demand a sex verification test as an official challenge....
“These new regulations -- ridiculous as they appear -- reflect the Olympic movement's further descent into the anarchy of political correctness....
“The participation of individuals born with ambiguous genitalia or ‘inter-sex’ genetic profiles is legitimate,” Mohler acknowledged. “That part of the new guidelines is perfectly reasonable and necessary, even though such individuals are exceedingly rare in the population.
“The scandal in this development has to do with adult transsexuals who now demand to compete in the Olympic Games as whatever gender they have chosen. Evidently, the new competition to watch at the 2004 Olympics,” Mohler quipped, “will be ‘gender gymnastics.’ What will they think of next?”
(BP) photo posted in the BP Photo Library at http://www.bpnews.net. Photo title: TUG-OF-WAR.