Journal of Genetic Counseling

, Volume 20, Issue 1, pp 113–114 | Cite as

Sex Testing or Gender Verification: Is There a Difference and Does it Matter?

  • Rachel M. McBride
  • Jehannine Austin
Letter to the Editor

We were delighted to see the three commentaries published in the December 2010 issue of JOGC addressing issues surrounding the ethics of sex testing in high-level sports (Caplan 2010; Hercher 2010; Wonkam et al. 2010). We concur that the situation surrounding Caster Semenya highlights a number of significant ethical concerns that need to be addressed and challenged.

However, we noted that all three commentaries use the terms “sex” and “gender” interchangeably, as synonyms. The usage of these terms in this way reflects how they are used by sport governing bodies, the media, and indeed an increasing number of academic publications (Haig 2004; King 2010). Despite this, the intention of the two terms was to convey different meanings.

The distinction between the meanings of the terms sex and gender has been well established in the social science and medical fields and is clearly defined by, for example, the World Health Organization (WHO 2010), American Psychological Association (APA 2001)...


Gender Role Gender Identity International Olympic Committee Body Morphology Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome 
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Copyright information

© National Society of Genetic Counselors, Inc. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of British ColumbiaBritish ColumbiaCanada

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