The Body Pedagogical Possibilities of Examining Intersex issues with Pre-Service HPE Teachers

Year: 2019

Author: Bromdal, Annette

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Although health and physical education pre-service teachers may be acquainted with past media headlines categorizing intersex bodies as ‘deviant’, ‘non-biological’, ‘different’ and/or ‘non-natural’ in their reporting on eligibility testing in women’s elite sports, few appear to be familiar with what intersex includes and what these tests were designed to reveal. Fewer still would know when, how and why these eligibility tests came about, who the authors of these testing technologies were and the amount of times these tests have continued and discontinued since their inception. Inspired by Joe Kincheloe’s advocacy for critical pedagogy, John Evan and Emma Rich’s notion of body pedagogy and Valerie Harwood's concept of bio pedagogy, this analysis seeks to unpack how athletes marked by this category cannot be understood as separate from the corporeal instructions and ‘authorities’ that mark and regulate their bodily representation. This analysis, which is based on personal teaching experience with pre-service health and physical educators in regional Queensland, Australia, tries to put critical body pedagogy into action through a social-activist-educator philosophy by encouraging educators to develop a critical reading of intersex discourses in elite sports. The analysis also encourages health and physical educators to consider future ethical and equitable directions within the discourse and to become comfortable with exploring ‘messy’ conversations which challenge societal indoctrinations into the regulation and discipline of non-gender normative bodies and athletic abilities in female elite sports. The ambition of this analysis is to inspire and encourage both in- and pre-service health and physical educators to take the ‘risk’ of engaging students in disruptive practices which explore the inscription of power onto particular bodies and abilities in sports and how they as both pedagogues and members of society are all ethically implicated in these relations of power.