Voz media US Voz.us

Olympic Committee publishes its guide to covering the Paris games with a queer perspective

The guide, called ”Norms of Representation,“ urges avoiding "problematic" phrases such as "biologically male" or "born female."

Thomas Bach, Presidente del Comité Olímpico Internacional (COI), habla durante la conferencia de prensa conjunta entre el COI y el Comité Organizador de Tokio de los Juegos Olímpicos y Paralímpicos (Tokio 2020) en Tokio, Japón, 16 de noviembre de 2020.

(Cordon Press)

Published by

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) renewed its guidelines for coverage of the Paris Olympic Games. The Portrayal Guidelines guide matters, they say, because the Olympic event is "a unique and powerful platform to showcase athletes in all their diversity from all over the world."

When athletes sail down the Seine River on July 26 in an unusual opening ceremony, the IOC wants journalists, commentators and sports leaders to already know some terms: sex, gender, gender stereotypes, neutral language. Sexual variations, transgender, gender affirmation treatments, non-binary...

Portrayal Guidelines, created in 2018 and renewed in 2021 and 2024, mixes definitions with recommendations and practical examples on how to adapt event coverage. Some, disconcerting: instead of "She’s the next Michael Phelps" it is better to say "She’s an extraordinary athlete."

"If the gender identity of the person is known, then it is legitimate to refer to that individual’s gender," the guidance continues, "However, substitute gender-specific terminology for gender-neutral descriptions when a person’s gender is not known or in a mixed gender group."

Among the "problematic" terms and therefore to be avoided, it mentions "born male," "born female," "biologically male," "biologically female," "genetically female." Only if there is a "clear reason" can the biological category of a person be referred to using terms such as "assigned female at birth" or "designated male at birth."

"A person’s sex category is not assigned based on genetics alone and aspects of a person’s biology can be altered when they pursue gender-affirming medical care," explains the guide, which claims to want to focus on the sport.