Gender, Race, Sexuality and Human Rights in the Context of Sport

GHJP has undertaken two separate but related projects using human rights principles, practices and structures to facilitate justice and equity in the context of sport each with a focus on analyzing how gender and sexuality intersect with race and place, among other structural conditions that give rise to the harm, and which must be attended to, in structuring any meaningful responses to prevent and redress harm.

Gender, rights, race and sport: One project, developed in conjunction with GHJP Senior Visiting Fellow Katrina Karkazis, PhD, focuses on the intersections of race and gender in sport, with particular attention to the way that the current female eligibility at the global level trigger invasive and discriminatory policies and practices felt primarily by athletes from the global south (esp. athletes from Africa and South Asia). GHJP sponsored an Interdisciplinary Conversation on Gender, Rights, Race and Sport at YLS in October 2019 which drew on extensive research by Karkazis examining the covert operation of race and region in a regulation restricting the natural levels of testosterone in women athletes. addressing directly the role that the ‘mystique of testosterone’ plays in athletics as well as other gendering regimes, particularly in regard women with naturally occurring high testosterone.

When the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) was preparing its response to a 2019 Human Rights Council Resolution 40/5 on the “intersection of intersection of race and gender discrimination in sports, including in policies, regulations and practices of sporting bodies” which called for directly addressed the discriminatory impact of eligibility regulations on women with particular variations in sex characteristics, the Office turned to GHJP Co-Director Miller, along with medical anthropologist and GHJP Fellow Katrina Karkazis and international law, gender, and global sport governance expert Michele

Krech J.D., LLM and MA, for research support: the three submitted significant research and analysis to the OHCHR, which presented its report to the 44th Human Rights Council” in June 2020.

Intentional Violence in Sport: With support from the Oscar M. Reubhausen (OMR) Fund, GHJP co-Director Miller is working with Dr. Yetsa A. Tuakli-Wosornu, M.D., M.P.H., founding director of the Sports Equity Lab and an Assistant Clinical Professor at the Yale School of Public Health, as well as Andrea Carska Sheppard, J.D. and. Principal, Sports Law Solutions to provide research and analysis that will contribute to the development of meaningful steps to prevent and respond to intentional abuse of athletes, particularly in elite sports.& Tuakli-Wosornu and Carska Sheppard, members of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Prevention of Harassment and Abuse in Sport Working Group), they reached out to GHJP and the Schell Center for Human Rights at YLS to help them move the global dialogue on rights, accountability and abuse in sport.

Working with an inter-disciplinary team of athlete-researchers and academics and supported in part by The Oscar M. Ruebhausen Fund, the project has identified and analyzed the unique inter-connected institutional and social and cultural practices of elite sport in the context of global distributions of power and resources which facilitate abuse: our Executive Summary on the background concept note is here. While the exigencies of COVID-19 have moved the project on line, the basic elements remain: the production of a conceptually and empirically sound concept note which will provide the basis for a facilitated global dialogue among key actors (through virtual workshops, panels and webinars in Fall 2020) as well as a commitment to produce information that leads to action, by virtue of the links between key actors in the dialogues. 23 July saw the launch of a new web site here: https://www.metoosport.com/, amplifying the voices of athletes speaking to the realities of contemporary sport and the drive for justice within the sporting world.


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