IWM Junior Visiting Fellows' Conferences XXIX (2010)

Maren Behrensen
Linkoping University
Based on the case of Caster Semenya, I argue in this paper that the practice of Gender Verification Testing (GVT) in professional sports is unethical and pointless. The presumed benefit of GVT—ensuring fair competition for female athletes—is virtually nonexistent compared to its potential harms, in particular the exposure of individual athletes to a largely interphobic public. GVTs constitute a serious incursion on the athlete’s dignity, autonomy, and privacy; an incursion that cannot be justified by the appeal to fairness. My argument will proceed in four steps. In sections 1-5, I provide background information on the definition of intersexuality, the history and methods of Gender Verification Testing, and the performance gap between men and women in professional athletics. In sections 6 and 7, I develop my main argument against GVT. In section 8, I offer a supplementary argument against GVT from the history of “gender engineering” in professional sports in the 1970s and 1980s. In section 9, I briefly consider the suggestion that the presence of intersex athletes in professional sports would force us to abandon gender segregation.
Keywords Philosophy of Sport  Intersexuality  Gender Verification Testing  Fairness
Categories (categorize this paper)
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Translate to english
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

 PhilArchive page | Other versions
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Being and Playing: Sport and the Valorisation of Gender.Leslie A. Howe - 2007 - In William J. Morgan (ed.), Ethics in Sport. Human Kinetics. pp. 331.
Respecting Privacy in Detecting Illegitimate Enhancements in Athletes.Sarah Teetzel - 2007 - Sport, Ethics and Philosophy 1 (2):159 – 170.
Gender Roles Roll.Pam R. Sailors - 2013 - Sport, Ethics and Philosophy 7 (2):245-258.


Added to PP index

Total views
973 ( #5,797 of 2,462,487 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
56 ( #15,056 of 2,462,487 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes