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Should Olympic athletes be able to self-declare their gender?

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The International Olympic Committee has had a transgender policy in place for almost a decade. That policy opens the door for participation by trans people if they meet requirements including surgery and hormone therapy. But some are arguing that athletes, in particular intersex athletes like Caster Semenya, should be allowed to participate as whatever gender they choose. While some will cry "foul" that this opens the door for abuse, it really doesn't.

The same argument was used when Rene Richards was allowed to play women's tennis. It was going to open the flood gates to a bunch of men becoming transgender so they could win a sports title. Of course, that never happened.

While I do have some trepidation about self-identification, I also understand that the check-and-balance at work here is the pride Olympic-level athletes bring with them. Women don't want to compete against men, and men don't want to compete against women. Yet in our binary perception of gender, some people are sadly caught in the middle.

Should Olympic athletes be allowed to self-determine their gender? Would Ryan Lochte really declare himself a woman simply to win medals? To me, that's doubtful at best.

PHOTO: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-US PRESSWIRE