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CIC Edmonton & CIC Waterloo: No Middle Ground – Caster Semenya’s Fight for Equality in Women’s Middle-Distance Running

June 16, 2021 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm EDT


CIC Edmonton and CIC Waterloo have assembled a panel to discuss gender, race, inclusion and identity in high performance sport on the international stage. At the centre of the discussion is the case of Caster Semenya, a South African middle-distance runner and 2016 Olympic gold medalist whose career has been negatively impacted by the World Athletics’ controversial new eligibility rules that require Ms. Semenya to lower her natural testosterone levels in order to compete in international competitions over certain distances.

The panel includes:

James Bunting is a founding partner at Tyr LLP and is representing South African born 800 metre Olympic champion Caster Semenya (and before her Dutee Chand) in appeals seeking to strike down regulations that require certain women to lower their naturally occurring testosterone levels as a condition of participation in women’s sport. He also served as Athlete Ombudsperson to the Canadian Olympic Committee during the Olympic Games in Rio. Mr. Bunting is consistently named one of Canada’s leading litigators and his recognitions include being named in the Report on Business/Lexpert special edition Canada’s Leading Litigation Lawyers, in Chambers Canada as an up-and-coming lawyer in Dispute Resolution, in Lexpert as a Rising Star: Leading Lawyer Under 40 and in Benchmark Canada as a Litigation Star in Class Actions, Commercial Litigation and Securities.

Dr. Janelle Joseph is an award-winning Assistant Professor in Critical Studies of Race in the Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education at the University of Toronto. She is Founder and Director of the Indigeneity, Diaspora, Equity, and Anti-racism in Sport (IDEAS) Research Lab and author/co-editor of three books related to race, sport, education and Black communities in Canada. Dr Joseph’s current research focuses on gender, equity, and de-colonization.

Dr. Veronica Ivy is an interdisciplinary scholar who has published widely on topics of knowledge, language, gender, and issues of equity (particularly in sport). She is a world-leading expert on trans and intersex athlete rights and offers institutional diversity and inclusion training workshops. Veronica has penned articles for New York Times, Washington Post, Economist, NBC News, VICE, and many more. She has appeared on major TV, Radio, and Podcast interviews to discuss trans issues and particularly trans and intersex athlete rights. In addition to her academic work, she is a two-time masters track cycling world champion and previous masters world-record holder. Dr. Ivy also happens to be a queer trans woman. She is the first known trans woman to win a track cycling world championship. Veronica also engages in advocacy and activism for trans and intersex athletes. Her message is that #SportIsAHumanRight. Dr. Ivy brings a unique perspective of being an academic, an athlete, and an activist to her work.

Dr. Cassandra Wells is a sociologist, writer, and athlete whose research emerges where the biology and sociology of the body meet. After dabbling in national-level athletics and earning a Bachelor’s degree in Physical and Health Education, Dr. Wells retired from competition and began researching the gendered nature of elite sport, beginning by measuring women’s inclusion as leaders in Canadian university sport with the first “Gender Report Card” in 2004. Since then, Dr. Wells has explored the racialized and classed dimensions of elite university sport, the gendered nature of catastrophic sports injury, and the history of sex testing policies in international sport, which was the basis of her PhD project at UBC. She has contributed to documentaries and podcasts about sex testing controversies in sport, and is currently developing a podcast about developments in gender-inclusive sport policy since 2010, funded by SSHRC and the Centre for Sport and Sustainability at the University of British Columbia. Her current book project explores the historical and contemporary tensions and alignments between trans-inclusion and sex testing policies in sport.




CIC Edmonton Branch
CIC Waterloo Region Branch