Last month, Romania’s parliament passed a bill banning schools and universities from teaching the idea that ‘biological sex is different from gender.’ The response was quick. A petition asking President Klaus Iohannis not to ratify the bill gathered more than 30,000 signatures in less than 24 hours. Forty universities and eighty civil society organisations across the country denounced the bill as an attempt to limit academic freedom. A students’ union asked the government not to ‘go back to the Middle Ages’. Dozens of people protested in front of the Presidential Palace in Bucharest, with signs saying ‘education prevents gender violence’ and ‘trans rights are human rights’. The bill still lies on Iohannis’s desk.
In February, GenderAvenger began tracking how often current affairs programmes on US TV asked women to analyse the presidential election. In the week beginning 29 February, 48 male analysts and 46 women appeared on CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360º, but no other show managed a ratio better than 2:1. On CNN’s New Day there were 84 men and 34 women; on Fox & Friends there were 51 men and eight women; on The Kelly File, also on Fox, there were 24 men and four women; and on MSNBC’s Morning Joe there were 138 men and only 29 women.
I was glad to see in today's press that it was decided to separate the question of what sex Caster Semenya really is from the questions of whether she could keep her medal or compete in women's sports. It seemed to me that the drive to publish the results of the sex determination tests was always sensationalist and intrusive, and that it missed the important points at issue in this situation. Yesterday's decision by the IAAF goes part of the way to honour the complexity and vulnerability of the person here, but also to affirm the way her gender is bound up with cultural and familial modes of belonging and recognition.