The first words uttered after a child is born are often “It’s a boy!” or “It’s a girl!” But sometimes doctors don’t know exactly what to say. How does this happen, and what should parents and doctors do?
According to a complaint filed by the Southern Poverty Law Center and others, doctors and officials from the state of South Carolina performed unnecessary sex assignment surgery on an infant in their care.
Our culture struggles with the notion of how gender ought to manifest — that there are fixed recognizable differences in the look and function of sex organs, presence of hormones and type of chromosomes that generate two distinct and bounded categories: male and female. And therefore man and woman. But actually, there aren’t.
Male athletes–think Armstrong, Phelps, jockeys–have “physical traits” considered responsible for superior performance, while elite female athletes are increasingly being tested and “treated” for “Disorders of Sexual Development.”
Caster Semenya should not be placed on trial — it’s our society’s outmoded perspective on gender that’s due for an overhaul. That race for equality won’t be won until we’re all free to safely cross the finish line together.
In a letter to the UN, South African Minister for Women, Children and People with Disabilities states that the questioning of Caster Semenya’s gender is based on a stereotypical view of physical features and abilities attributable to women, and demonstrates the extent of patriarchy within the world’s sporting community.
News analysts continue to debate fallout from health reform speech outburst by Joe Wilson; gender identity of South African athlete publicly discussed; US private security contractor in Afghanistan accused of sex trafficking.