POSTED AT 2:29 AM JANUARY 21, 2010
INTERSEX • OLYMPICS • SEX • SPORTS
Xeni asked me to give a brief analysis of her earlier post on the International Olympic Committee's decision regarding sex tests for athletes like South African sprinter Caster Semenya. Caster is one of the millions of people in the world who challenge our simplistic male/female sex binary by their very existence. Most intersex people are unremarkable in appearance; in fact, many people who would be classified as intersex do not even know it. The only time it becomes an issue is when they are subject to our prevailing reproductive ideology, which organizes the world around procreation. People like Caster are so controversial because they challenge many of the most deeply-held beliefs people have about sex. The comments sections in my recent posts here show what a hot-button topic reproduction is, even among techno-progressives, hipsters, and people who are on the leading edge of other critical 21st-century paradigm shifts. Reproduction as well as policing sex and gender boundaries will get increasingly more complex in coming decades, and technology always outpaces ethics. Reproduction issues have major ramifications for other causes near and dear to Boing Boing readers, including privacy, intellectual property, mind/body hacks, and the pathologization of human diversity. Still, it's often considered impolite or too political or too controversial, so it doesn't get discussed enough.
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