Gender Testing in Sports

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Caster Semenya, a South African middle distance runner, won the World Championship in the 800m run in 2009. Following the championship, Semenya was required to undergo gender testing. Tests showed that Semenya has no ovaries or uterus, and has internal testes that produce extra amounts of testosterone; Semenya was unaware of these findings prior to the tests. Supporters of Semenya have put forth that she has nothing more than a birth defect and should be treated as such. This issue has sparked controversy as to how sexual development disorders should be treated in sports. The most popular solution is that whatever gender a person is raised as and believes them self to be should be the accepted gender. So for example, since Semenya was raised as a female, and believes herself to be one, she should be able to participate in female competition. This has been the predominant way of thinking since the championship controversy, and will most likely be the accepted practice as gender testing is on the decline in athletics. What do you think about this issue?

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Personally I think that is a very good way to deal with that particular irregularity. There are different paths that I believe would be mean and unfair, such as making Semenya participate in the men’s competitions (probably due to the excess testosterone she is getting), but it has been shown that people treated as one gender will have tendencies towards that gender both mentally and physically. (My one question for that being, does she have more estrogen than men tend to as well as having more testosterone than women tend to?) Being raised as female, Semenya has more characteristics of a woman and she actually believes herself to be a woman versus a man so being forced to run against men would be unjust. I agree with letting her continue running in women’s races.

I remember this reading about this during the last Olympics and it is also seen in women's sports, especially in the case of Brittney Griner, basketball player for Baylor. Everywhere she plays, they chant about her being a boy, except in a little more distasteful manner.

I agree that letting the person compete in the gender category within which they were raised is the fairest solution. Otherwise there's a whole group of people that would be excluded from sports!

I think that whatever "parts" you are born with don't determine the gender you wish to portray to the public. I think you are born knowing what you are, male or female. If she was raised as a female, and truly feels she is a female, than that is what she is. It is merely a birth defect and no one needs to go suggesting that she be put under the gender category with males.

This begs a similar question: How to treat people with disabilities in sports. Running prosthetic are now so good that they barely impede the runner, if at all. Since these prosthetics are made out of lightweight titanium, they actually give the runner with no lower leg or foot an advantage over a regular athlete. Some people want to allow steroids in sports. I'm a bit of a sports purist. This "woman" should not be allowed to compete with women. Would we allow a transgendered person to compete within their own gender?

I believe that it is personal choice when it comes to this situation. There are plenty of girls out there who just produce more testosterone than any other hormone in their body. Yet, they are still considered female because the have the certain "parts". It is interesting to think that these defects can happen but they should not sway a person's judgement or how they feel about themselves. If she views herself as a girl, then let her be a girl.

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This page contains a single entry by jaspe087 published on April 11, 2012 9:39 PM.

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