Gender testing is the process of determining if a person is a male or a female. This can be done on unborn babies to determine the sex of your child. In the context of sports, gender tests are conducted to determine the sex of an athlete, as there have been cases of males competing as females, and thus having an unfair advantage. The person is not always aware that they are biologically and physiologically male.
equipment required: There are many different possible procedures for gender testing, requiring specific and specialist knowledge and equipment.
procedure: Sex determination tests typically involve evaluation by gynecologists, endocrinologists, psychologists, and internal medicine specialists. On a simple level, the athlete may be evaluated from their external appearances by experts. They may also undergo blood tests to examine their sex hormones, genes and chromosomes.
comments: gender verification procedures are often complex, expensive, degrading and not always accurate. Chromosome testing is not as simple as it may sound. Women usually have two X chromosomes; men an X and a Y chromosome, though other combinations are possible (known generally as "intersex" condition), and may not result in a clear male or female.
history: Gender Testing began at the 1966 European Track & Field Championships, due to suspicion that several of the best women athletes from USSR and Eastern European countries were really men. It was first introduced at the Olympics in 1968, for the Winter Games in Grenoble. However, after years of controversies, compulsory gender testing at the Olympics was officially stopped in 1999. Read more about gender testing at the Olympic Games.
in the news:
- In 2009, there was world wide attention on the South African runner Caster Semenya who won the women's 800m title at the world athletics championships in Berlin. Caster was subsequently found out to be a hermaphrodite, a person with both male and female sexual characteristics, and was banned from competing as a female.
- Indian sprinter Dutee Chand was banned from the 2014 Commonwealth Games because her natural testosterone levels were too high.