Sunday, February 23, 2014

The Sochi Olympics: Not A Game for Queer, Trans*, and Intersex People

The Winter Olympics are in full-swing, and it’s been publicized for weeks and months that holding the Games in Russia, given Russia’s (LEGISLATED) gay discrimination laws sends a troubling message to the world, to homophobic Russia, and to LGBTI Olympic competitors and spectators. The focus of Russia’s discriminatory views has been gay and lesbian competitors, but it is important to remember the other groups – within or outside the LGBTI acronym – that are also discriminated against in Olympic sport.

In December, Hida Viloria, the Director of the US chapter of Organization Intersex International (OII), was invited to speak at the special United Nations (UN) panel, “Sport Comes Out Against Homophobia.” While intersex is not specifically mentioned in this title, the panel was intersex-inclusive and historic in that Hida is the first intersex person invited to a UN panel specifically to address intersex issues. Hida discusses how intersex athletes have historically been – are today, are still – discriminated against, sometimes being asked to submit to unethical physical examinations and genetic testing to exclude intersex competitors from participating in the Games. Hida also mentions the public outing and discrimination against Caster Semenya, a champion runner, and explains why including the “I” to LGBT organizations – thus, making the acronym LGBTI – is important for raising awareness about intersex people.

Check out the UN panel here!

Thanks for including intersex issues in your analysis of the Olympic Games this season!

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