Symposium on Gender Dysphoria – Bhutan
Gender Identity, Medicine, and Sport: Therapeutic Entanglement
By Linda Blade, PhD Kinesiology, Sport Performance Professional
Freedom to express personal identity beyond stereotype has always been a feature in sports. Female athletes often defy social norms and gender conformity. To be a “tomboy” in sport is not unique. Nobody ever cared. Until now. Suddenly, sports organizations are being urged to formalize policy where “gender identity” and “gender expression” are prioritized above and beyond biological sex. Advocates often appeal to a kind of social therapy benefit when calling for the reconfiguration of sport eligibility rules based upon gender self-declaration alone. Presumably, affirmation of a participant’s unverifiable, internal perception of “who they are” expands the role of sport as a mechanism for greater acceptance of societal minorities. As explained in this presentation, the deep irony is that an unintended consequence of such an extreme paradigm shift – along with the medical treatments involved – is the wholesale disintegration of the greater, often unacknowledged, social good that sport has always delivered to children and youth. Reality is turned on its head. The gazelle eats the lion.

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