On a relatively frequent basis, sexual orientation (i.e., one's romantic/sexual/etc. attraction to others) and gender presentation (i.e., how one presents one's gender - ranging from feminine through androgynous to masculine) are discussed with regard to figure skaters, particularly men and boys. However, the constructs of gender (identity) and sex are rarely discussed with regard to figure skating, presumably since the imposed gender binary is taken as the status quo - separate men's and women's singles events, and men and women skating together in pairs and dance events. So, I wanted to start a discussion on the topic of gender and sex to see what other members thought about these topics.
These constructs are typically defined as follows:
-Gender identity: One's internal sense of being a man, woman, or any genderqueer variant, such as pangender, agender, etc.
-Sex: One's biological make-up, involving attributes such as hormones, chromosomes, and secondary sex characteristics - seen as a spectrum ranging from female through intersex to male
Here is a helpful model (gingerbread person) if you are unaware of these terms, or would like to read further: http://itspronouncedmetrosexual.com/...ng-continuums/
I recognize that we live in a world that in many ways is still very binaried in all of these aspects, and this is reflected in figure skating, which seems slow to progress away from traditional gender roles and modes of gender presentation (See costume rules as a prime example). However, I had some pragmatic questions to which I did not know the answers:
1) Does the ISU have any sort of rules regarding non-binaried (either by sex or gender identity) individuals? Obviously, it wouldn't matter at a recreational level, but if you want to skate competitively, you would need to be 'slotted into' the binary categories of competitive skating.
2) Similarly, are there are any rules regarding transgender individuals? If so, are these rules contingent upon when one started transitioning (e.g., someone who took puberty-blocking drugs and then hormones, compared to someone who went through puberty and then transitioned)?
I was reminded of the 'gender testing' (which, of course, should have been called 'sex testing', since she identified as a girl/woman; see http://www.cnn.com/2012/08/08/health...ender-testing/) that was done to Castor Semenya, the middle-distance runner, and wondered if anything like that has ever occurred in figure skating. Presumably, the same arguments would be made regarding men's biological advantage for jumping/etc.
I do a lot of research about these topics in my field (math education), so I wanted to see how they applied to figure skating. I look forward to reading your comments!