CCES – Sport in Transition: Making Sport in Canada More Responsible for Gender Inclusivity

CCES (Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport) published a report “Sport in Transition: Making Sport in Canada More Responsible for Gender Inclusivity” in 2012 about gender inclusivity, specifically when it relates to transgender, intersex, genderqueer, and/or gendervariant individuals who compete in sports. A post on October 23, 2012 on the CCES website, which coincides with the release of the report, gives some further details.

The report is an important and essential read for those of us participating in, and organizing, sporting events, leagues, sessions, etc. and speaks to the growing diversity of gender expression, identity, and experiences that some athletes represent in sports and society.

I want to highlight some standout quotes from the post courtesy of CCES:

“The document concludes that, because variations in sex development exist, individuals should have the right to compete without question in the gender they feel they are or have always identified with, and emphasizes that this right to gender self-identification carries both the privilege of inclusion and the responsibility for fair play. Without presuming to have all the answers, the CCES released this report to stimulate discussion far and wide throughout sport”.

“The CCES convened the discussion by selecting a group of experts, who explored the scientific and ethical foundations of this very complex issue. They found that there is no historical evidence of one gender impersonating another in sport for competitive advantage. They determined that there is no one marker in the body that can determine a person’s gender. And they discovered that the scientific evidence for any unfair advantage due to variations in androgen levels in intersex and transgender athletes is very unclear.

In contrast, it is very clear that a small group of athletes with variations in sex development are vulnerable to invasions of privacy, unfair and intrusive testing, arbitrary exclusions or hurtful prejudices. The experts determined that the arguments for gender testing do not outweigh the harm that it causes, and concluded that there is no justification for gender testing or verification in sport”.