The International Olympic Committee unanimously approved an addition to the non-discrimination policy last week that aims to stop bullying that occurs to lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, and transgender athletes, but one organization believes that this will only allow more discrimination against those Christian athletes who believe that homosexuality is a sin.
Steve McConkey, president of the 4 WINDS sport ministry, is concerned about the new clause to the non-discrimination policy, stating that the commitee needs to "stay out of politics."
The new clause, entitled Principle 6, now states that there should be no discrimination "of any kind, such as race, color, sex, sexual orientation, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status."
But McConkey has been fighting the International Olympic Committee on these decisions since 2003 , when transgendered athletes were being considered to participate in the Olympic games. McConkey's efforts went unheeded and in 2003, the committee ruled that transgender and transsexual participants are allowed to compete, as both male-to-female and female-to-male conversions.
"Although individuals who undergo sex reassignment usually have personal problems that make sports competition an unlikely activity for them, there are some for whom participation in sport is important," IOC Medical Commission Chairman Arne Ljungqvist said at the time.
The International Olympic Committee's re-wording of the policy came after Russia passed a law banning homosexual athletes from performing in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. Many homosexual and transgender athletes from other countries felt that this was wrong, including stories of their own discrimination by other athletes.
But, as McConkey points out, this new policy could now work to shine the discrimination spotlight on Christian athletes who have a religious conviction against homosexuality.
"We are not about hating people, but pointing them to the truth," said McConkey in a statement. "The Olympic Committee's policy will affect Christian athletes and coaches who believe homosexuality is a sin. Will they be persecuted for their beliefs if they state this in public? The IOC should do what they require the Olympic athletes to do - stay out of politics."
McConkey's 4 WINDS sports ministry contends that the "floodgates were opened" after the IOC's 2003 transgender policy that allowed for athletes to participate in the Olypmpics who have "undergone sex reassignment surgery, had hormone treatments for at least two years," or "received legal recognition of their transitioned sex."
Since that time, 33 states have approved policies that allow trangender athletes to participate in sports at the high school level, meaning that either gender can essentially participate on the other gender's team.
Earlier this year, a controversy arose concerning Fallon Fox, a transsexual female Mixed Martial Arts athlete who was born a man. Because of the nature of the sport, many of the women participating in MMA felt that Fox had an unfair advantage being a man and that his wins should be questioned by the sport's officials.
"I've fought a lot of women and have never felt the strength that I felt in a fight as I did that night," MMA fighter Tamikka Brents said in an interview. "I can't answer whether it's because she was born a man or not because I'm not a doctor. I can only say, I've never felt so overpowered ever in my life and I am an abnormally strong female in my own right."