The United States affiliate of the Organization Intersex International (OII)

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Category Archives: Sport

Intersex athlete Santhi Soundarajan seeks justice!

Intersex athlete Santhi Soundarajan seeks justice!

Earlier this week, as reported by ESPN, the National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) served a notice on the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports in response to a petition filed by former Indian middle-distance runner Santhi Soundarajan. Santhi was stripped of her silver medal (800m) ten years ago at the Doha Asian Games, and banned from competing in all events after she failed a gender test. However, in a grave breach of protocol, she is yet to receive a copy of the gender test report despite repeated requests.

In March this year, Santhi contacted the NCSC, saying she was subjected to a “humiliating and unscientific” gender test shortly after her second-place finish at the 2006 Games. The athlete, who comes from a poor Dalit family, also alleged in her complaint that she has faced discrimination on the grounds of caste. The NCSC has decided to investigate Soundarajan’s allegations of injustice, and is seeking a response in the matter from the secretary of the Department of Sports within 30 days.

“The inhuman manner in which the gender tests were conducted and being denied the report are a clear violation,” said gender activist M Gopi Shankar, who has been working closely with Santhi. “The government should voice its support for its athletes. Santhi deserves to have her medal back and lead a life of dignity.”

We agree, and thank Shankar– who uses ze and zis pronouns — for zis activism and for assisting Santhi. On Human Rights Day 2012, participants of the 2nd International Intersex Forum delivered an open letter authored by our founder and director Hida Viloria, to the UN’s Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights (OHCHR), which mentioned Soundarajan by name in drawing attention to the discrimination which intersex female athletes face.

As Santhi told ESPN, “That athletes like Caster Semenya and Dutee Chand are competing in the international arena despite facing a similar predicament as mine offers me hope. But it also serves as a reminder that I’m not as fortunate.”

We commend the NCSC for investigating Santhi’s complaint and send her our wishes for a successful resolution!

Support Justice for Shanthi Soundarajan!

Support Justice for Shanthi Soundarajan!

Intersex women athletes need our support – please sign the petition for Shanthi Soundarajan!   With the advent of the Olympics in Rio, we have seen a wave of discriminatory attitudes against intersex women in the press, disguised as “concern” over the fact that women with naturally high testosterone levels (known as hyperandrogenism) will… Continue Reading

Victory for Dutee Chand and intersex female athletes!!!

Victory for Dutee Chand and intersex female athletes!!!

Early today, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) ruled to allow Indian athlete Dutee Chand the right to compete as a woman, since being banned last July under sports regulations for women with naturally high testosterone levels (a.k.a. hyperandrogenism).  We celebrate this victory not just for Dutee, but in a long battle fought by… Continue Reading

Dutee Chand victorious! Please support her right to compete!

On Wednesday, February 11th, 2015, Indian track star Dutee Chand soared to victory, winning the gold medal in the 100- meter race at India’s National Games. Dutee is competing while under reprieve by the Court of Arbitration of Sport (CAS), which allows her to participate in domestic meets after she was suspended due to… Continue Reading

Viloria on discrimination against intersex women athletes in The Advocate

We’re thrilled to to have this essay by OII-USA Director Hida Viloria run in The Advocate, although we note they changed the original title – “Bullying By Any Other Name: What’s Really Behind Regulations for Women with High Testosterone” – to, “Stop Freaking Out About Female Intersex Athletes”. The essay elaborates on the issue in… Continue Reading

Please sign petition to treat intersex athletes fairly!

Intersex women with high levels of testosterone are being singled out by case-by-case-upon-suspicion sports policies that ban them from competing as women unless they undergo medically unnecessary normalizing procedures, although but the policymakers’ own admission, “…there is no clear scientific evidence proving that a high level of T is a significant determinant of performance in… Continue Reading

Aljazeera interviews Viloria on sports policies for intersex female athletes

Aljazeera interviews Viloria on sports policies for intersex female athletes

  Our E.D. Hida Viloria is on Aljazeera’s The Stream today, speaking with scholars Payoshni Mitra, PhD, and Katrina Karkazis, PhD, author of Fixing Sex, about how sporting regulations for intersex women, specifically those with hyperandrogegism (high natural testosterone levels), are discriminatory, as witnessed in the recent case of India’s Dutee Chand. Viloria has lobbied extensively against… Continue Reading

India lobbies for Dutee Chand!

OII’s Viloria, along with medical experts & others, lobbied the Int’l Olympic Committee (IOC) & the IAAF at their meeting in October, 2010, against imposing unfair “regulations” on intersex women athletes, but the sporting bodies caved under pressure from non-intersex female athletes who wanted something done about “women who look like men”. Wonderful to see… Continue Reading

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