Athletes Deserve Safe Workplace Cultures, Too: Sex-Testing at the Olympics

This story is completely baffling. If you are a professional athlete, your workplace is the field – and if you’re an Olympic athlete, your workplace is also the testing facility where you’re checked for doping. However, the practice of sex-testing female athletes – or giving female athletes very invasive check-ups to confirm that they are legitimately women if they happen to be “too muscular” or “too manly” to be believed – has completely ruined lives. There have been very few cases of male athletes impersonating female athletes to get ahead in sport, and most of the time, these tests reveal that a given athlete may be an intersex individual – which affects hormones through no fault of their own. While there is some debate about this issue, what it really comes down to is that there has to be a better and more psychologically safe way to handle this situation: revealing an athlete as an intersex individual has almost always resulted in humiliation, and has sometimes resulted in suicide. Fundamentally, this practice of sex-testing is mortifying and shows a fundamental disregard for female athletes competing at the top of their fields. Olympic athletes deserve psychologically healthy, safe and fair workplaces, just like everyone else – and I wish Dutee Chand, the athlete featured in this story, all the luck in the world this summer at the games. You can read more about Chand and the practice of sex-testing female athletes in the New York Times

Image: Dutee Chand, by Sohrab Hura/Magnum for NYT