Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Man! I Feel Like A Woman!

The ChiComs have had a lab set up for about a year to determine if women Olympic athletes are actually, ahem, women.

For more than a year, officials in Beijing have been designing a special laboratory to determine the sex of any athletes taking part in this year's Olympic games. "Suspected athletes will be evaluated from their external appearances by experts and undergo blood tests to examine their sex hormones, genes and chromosomes for sex determination," says Professor Tian Qinjie. The tests will not be conducted on every female athlete, but will be required if serious doubts have been raised about an individual competitor - invariably one competing in the women's events. "The aim is to protect fairness at the games while also protecting the rights of people with abnormal sexual development," he says.

Near the end of the article are stories of past Olympic athletes with gender issues. My personal favorite is the tale of Dora Ratjen, who was a 1936 German Olympic woman high jumper by day, and a male waiter named Hermann by night.

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