Cathy Devine1, Emma Hilton2, Leslie Howe3, Miroslav Imbrišević4,
Tommy Lundberg5, Jon Pike4
1 Independent Scholar; 2 University of Manchester; 3 University of Saskatchewan;
4 Open University (UK); 5 Karolinska Institutet
The recently published ‘Scientific Review’ by the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport about transwomen’s participation in female sport doesn’t deserve its name; it is wholly unscientific. This publication follows a familiar pattern. The body is not important anymore when it comes to categorisation and eligibility in sport; instead, it’s all about a psychological phenomenon: gender identity. This side-lining of the body (which makes the side-lining of female athletes and the inclusion of male-born athletes possible) is now reinforced by an attack on the bio-medical sciences. Their agenda is – allegedly – the oppression of minorities. Only the socio-cultural disciplines can give us the answers we are looking for (in sport), because only they understand the coercive nature of academic disciplines and institutions which focus on material reality, rather than on social identity. The CCES Review is another attempt to replace materially based eligibility criteria in sport with ‘social identity’ as a passport to inclusion. We (a group of scientists and humanities scholars) have written an expert commentary about the CCES Review, highlighting its shortcomings in methodology, and its sometimes incoherent, sometimes misleading argumentation. We argue that the CCES strategy is a continuity with the history of the exclusion and oppression of female athletes in sexist, misogynist, patriarchal sport structures whilst, at the same time, masquerading as inclusive, anti-sexist and anti-misogynist.
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