Human Diversity in Sport

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Human Diversity in Sport history, media, policy and research
Sharing a Vision of Inclusive Sport

ABOUT HDiS

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The Human Diversity in Sport (HDiS) Website is a resource for the purpose of creating greater awareness and knowledge with regard to human physiological diversity. We aim to celebrate a vision for sport that is inclusive of all people by promoting awareness of natural human diversity. The site offers a localised source of educational material and reference, with a searchable database relating to diversity in sport and physical activity.

Additionally, the site serves as a platform to provide a voice for athletes who may have been marginalised by current sporting practices that continue to fail at accommodating human diversity. Athletes can represent themselves with factual accounts of their lives (anonymously if necessary) to assist in accurate representation.

Who is this site for?

With its reference database, the website is for anyone...:

  • with an interest or need in learning more about the nature of human diversity as it relates to sport, strength and physical performance.
  • in a position of leadership or sport governance, requiring information or resources to aid in adopting an inclusive approach to embrace human diversity in a more effective and inclusive manner.
  • studying human diversity and/or sport, or anyone who is merely curious to learn about realities of human diversity in relation to sport and physical activity.


For international sport to move forward in an inclusive capacity, there is a need for broader awareness and education as well as the ability to embrace human diversity and our evolving human form and abilities. When policies need to exist, they would benefit from being constantly evolving.

Poorly developed policies lead to alienation and exclusion.

Education fosters awareness and achieves greater inclusion.


WHY

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Sport is for all people.... but despite decades of various attempts at sex verification by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), women remain disproportionately targeted for disqualification in international and Olympic sporting events by being forced to meet a Western [white] ideology of femininity. While natural physiological variability in male athletes exists unabated (and is in fact celebrated) the same natural variability in women has been, and still is, cause for dispute and controversy.

The leaders at international and Olympic levels of modern day sport maintain that sex verification practices are no longer undertaken, but their actions prove otherwise. Sex verification techniques have merely changed and been given a different name. In previous decades, female athletes have either been openly disqualified, or asked to quietly remove themselves from competition. Today they are being coerced (by way of ultimatum) into medical treatment and/or surgery, without reasonable scientific or medical justification, before being permitted to continue in their chosen sport. The treatment can result in irreversible long term effects to the health and well being of an athlete and in all cases, the athlete who accepts the suggested intervention, is unable to maintain their competitive level due to the degree of the impact to her body.

Modern day sport is using science, based on a social ideology, to modify athletes' bodies and is nothing short of trying to fit the proverbial square peg in a round hole. The 'recommendations' and surgery that have been carried out are touted as having the athlete's health in mind, but are in fact nothing short of human rights abuses as the majority of athletes suffered no ill health prior to competition. The impact of such surgical intervention on a young woman's body is so aggressive it can lead to long term impact on her health and virtually ensures she is no longer able to compete in her chosen sport.

After 5 decades of failed sex verification testing by the IOC and IAAF, their justification for doing so remains unsupported by credible medical fact. The fears of fraudulent participation in women's sport and attempts at preserving a [false notion of] 'level playing field', remain unsubstantiated and undefined. The tests currently in use (based on something called 'hyperandrogenism') are nothing more than arbitrary biological markers that have more to do with preservation of a Western ideology of femininity and are not supported by medical fact.

While the IOC may have had good intentions with their initial motives, they have probably done themselves a disservice. By attempting to develop more intricate and detailed testing methods, it is, ironically, those very methods that have highlighted the complexity and almost infinite variability that makes up the human race. The human body simply doesn't adhere to neat socially created binary categories of sex that most of our world assumes. Where international sport has failed, and continues to do so, is that it makes continued attempts at satisfying the status quo of binary sex, rather than making efforts to accommodate human diversity.

Today there is a broad misconception that organisations seen as the leaders in international sport governance and policy development, are at the leading edge of sport and human physiological research and medical knowledge. This is not the case, and the IOC panders more to stereotypes and social ideologies than to well documented scientific research. Smaller local, regional, national and intercollegiate sporting bodies follow the IOC's lead without question and adopt their gender policies, or similar rules and regulations, which continually perpetuate a false narrative of [what is seen as] acceptable human make up.

The International Olympic Committee has lost its way and now has the audacity to want to convince the world that some women are 'born wrong'. This in itself is enough to warrant that sport needs to adopt a fresh perspective. A progressive modern approach needs to be created to encourage globally inclusive and safe sports participation. HDiS hopes to assist in this process by providing a local source of reference, to avoid fragmented attempts at addressing diversity in sports with incomplete or inaccurate information.

It is time for sport to evolve. It is time for sport, and society as a collective, to grow beyond rigid notions of femininity and binary sex. It is possible that the entire structure of the way we do sport will change.


TERMINOLOGY

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Our vision at Human Diversity in Sport (HDiS) is for the inclusion of all people no matter ones diversity or ability. We do not consider that socially created labels play a role in that vision or in sport. While labels can sometimes provide support and identity for minority groups in specific circumstances, in a larger domain they often isolate people from a majority and are harmful. Labels and targeted terminology achieve only to further ostracise individuals and can go as far as to pathologise otherwise healthy people, merely for not being 'like everyone else'.

We recognise one label, and it is called 'people'.

Many of the resources; journal, media and research articles etc made available through this site, use very specific terminology that most people would be unfamiliar with. This page exists merely to provide clarification of those terms within research circles. We do not intend to support nor condone their widespread use.

**Future development of this site will provide information and clarification on language and terminology.


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Disclosure

This website and it's authors, do not work for, consult to or own shares in any company or organisation that would benefit from content on this site, and has no relevant affiliations.

Copyright @2014 HUMAN DIVERSITY in SPORT inc. All rights reserved