Above controversy from sex sports view. Sport & gender: A history of bad science & 'biological racism'.



Above controversy from sex sports view

Above controversy from sex sports view

Dutee Chand provided evidence of her talent by claiming a bronze at the Asian Games aged just 17 Life looked pretty good for Dutee Chand last July. Having become the first Indian sprinter to reach a final at a global athletics event in , the year-old was already the national champion at m and m, and an Asian Games bronze medallist.

Such was the excitement about her potential that the Sports Authority of India's director general Jiji Thomson described her as a "sure shot Olympic medallist" of the future, and a place in a final on her Commonwealth Games debut looked within her reach. But then, less than a fortnight before the opening ceremony in Glasgow, she "failed" a test that had nothing to do with fitness, form or even doping, and was dramatically withdrawn from the national team.

Like South African m sensation Caster Semenya before her, Chand discovered - in bold newsprint - that her natural levels of the hormone testosterone were normally only found in men. It did not take long before reporters were outside her parents' humble home asking them and her six siblings if she was a boy or a girl.

Dutee Chand's fast lane to controversy The third of seven children to a weaver couple from the state of Odisha, Dutee is born on 3 February Becomes Indian national under champion for m when she clocks However, Chand's career has been on hold for a year, leading to her missing both the Commonwealth Games and Asian Games after she refused to subject herself to the "corrective" treatment hormone suppression therapy and sometimes even genital surgery prescribed by the IAAF, International Olympic Committee IOC and other leading sports bodies.

Instead of the sprinter she has spent years training to be, she became the focus of a challenge to sport's rules on gender, a cause celebre and evidence in a scientific debate about testosterone. A history of suspicion Concerns about men masquerading as women to win medals have been around for almost as long as women have been allowed to play sport, which is surprising given how rare it is. He nearly won a bronze medal at the Olympics. Undeterred by the unlikelihood of a man successfully passing himself off as a woman, the IOC started comprehensive "gender verification" testing in Stella Walsh was the fastest woman in the world in the s, but a postmortem in revealed she had male genitalia as a result of a rare genetic condition called mosaicism Initially, this was done by asking female athletes to drop their underwear, but eventually a less humiliating method was found: Unfortunately, Mother Nature is not as black-and-white as your typical blazer would like his competitions to be, and it turns out there are a dozen different conditions that would once have been lumped under "hermaphrodite", but are now referred to by the less pejorative term of intersex, or disorders of sexual development.

Sport first cottoned on to this when Spanish hurdler Maria Jose Martinez-Patino was told in that she was an XY "man", but refused to quit or feign injury as it is widely believed many had before and spent the next three years fighting ignorance and ridicule to line up alongside women again. She got there in the end, proving her Y chromosomes were the product of a rare genetic syndrome.

She was also able to show that her condition meant she was insensitive to testosterone: Sadly, Martinez-Patino's most competitive years were behind her. It is not known what happened to the 13 women who "failed" gender tests at Olympics between and But sport seemed to have learned something, though, mainly that it did not know enough about these complicated issues, and by the end of the s gender verification was shelved, apart from in cases of extreme suspicion.

Moral panic And then Semenya burst onto the scene. A junior champion in , the muscular teenager took seven seconds off her personal best for m over the next nine months, breaking the South African record and setting a world-leading time in the process.

The IAAF felt "obliged to investigate", if only to rule out doping. Hours before the start of the m final at the World Athletics Championships, a race Semenya would win by a huge margin, it was leaked that the sport's governing body had also asked for a gender test. After Caster Semenya's crushing win at the Worlds, a Russian rival sniped: A young girl with a rare condition, and an even rarer talent, was subjected to a medical examination by media. Semenya, now 24, returned to racing in , and won silver medals at the Worlds and Olympics.

But she has never run as fast as she did as an year-old. Bruce Kidd, the Commonwealth champion in the imperial version of the 10,m, the six miles, has spent the last half century as a leading academic in the field of physical and health education. The Canadian is also a self-confessed Olympian "of the old school", a champion of sport's ability to unite. Instead they hit the moral panic button. In the last 20 years it has become a kind of biological racism.

Ashamed at the leaks and lack of scientific rigour, but stung by the reaction to Semenya's physique from some quarters, the IAAF asked an expert working group to come up with a plan for women with "excessive androgenic hormones", or hyperandrogenism. India's Santhi Soundarajan was stripped of the m silver medal she won at the Asian Games when she failed a gender test - she tried to kill herself a year later Androgenic hormones are any natural or synthetic substance that control the development of male characteristics - everything from the formation of testes, to male pattern baldness - with the best known being testosterone.

There is some disagreement over the normal spectrum of testosterone levels for men and women in general, but everybody agrees that typically there is a gap that emerges between the sexes during puberty. In April , the new rules came into force.

From this moment on, a confidential investigation could be made into any athlete where there were "reasonable grounds". This could be a complaint from a rival, or as a result of an anomaly in a drugs test. The process would be handled by experts, and "an effective therapeutic strategy" would be offered to any athlete found to have elevated levels of androgen.

Part of this investigation would include finding out if the athlete is benefiting from the testosterone.

As was seen in the Martinez-Patino case, androgen insensitivity syndrome AIS means those elevated levels of the hormone can give a false picture of what is actually happening.

But while all this is being established, the athletes are ineligible to compete. Sounds reasonable… doesn't it? The testosterone divide Peter Sonksen is a professor of endocrinology the study of hormones at St Thomas' Hospital in London.

It was his research for the IOC that eventually led to the development of an anti-doping test for Human Growth Hormone, but he is far from impressed with its work on testosterone. It is clear discrimination. In other words, the gap that exists for testosterone between men and women in the general population does not exist among elite athletes.

This research has been leapt upon by a growing body of campaigners who question the premise that testosterone is a significant factor in any discussions about differences between the sexes' athletic performances. For them, men's greater height, leaner body mass, narrower hips and higher counts of oxygen-carrying red blood cells are all more persuasive than testosterone. But this is where we enter disputed territory, and a number of experts reacted angrily to what they saw as the misuse of Sonksen's HGH data.

For them, there is little doubt of testosterone's impact, although most admit it is part of the mix, as opposed to being the only ingredient. An arbitrary line David Epstein is an award-winning writer for the US magazine Sports Illustrated, but he is perhaps better known as the author of "The Sports Gene", a myth-debunking look at "nature versus nurture".

The book details the many physical differences between men and women, including testosterone, which, when you add them all up, explain why unisex sport is a non-starter for most athletic pursuits. Small genetic differences, a gulf in performance Event.

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Above controversy from sex sports view

Dutee Chand provided evidence of her talent by claiming a bronze at the Asian Games aged just 17 Life looked pretty good for Dutee Chand last July. Having become the first Indian sprinter to reach a final at a global athletics event in , the year-old was already the national champion at m and m, and an Asian Games bronze medallist. Such was the excitement about her potential that the Sports Authority of India's director general Jiji Thomson described her as a "sure shot Olympic medallist" of the future, and a place in a final on her Commonwealth Games debut looked within her reach.

But then, less than a fortnight before the opening ceremony in Glasgow, she "failed" a test that had nothing to do with fitness, form or even doping, and was dramatically withdrawn from the national team. Like South African m sensation Caster Semenya before her, Chand discovered - in bold newsprint - that her natural levels of the hormone testosterone were normally only found in men. It did not take long before reporters were outside her parents' humble home asking them and her six siblings if she was a boy or a girl.

Dutee Chand's fast lane to controversy The third of seven children to a weaver couple from the state of Odisha, Dutee is born on 3 February Becomes Indian national under champion for m when she clocks However, Chand's career has been on hold for a year, leading to her missing both the Commonwealth Games and Asian Games after she refused to subject herself to the "corrective" treatment hormone suppression therapy and sometimes even genital surgery prescribed by the IAAF, International Olympic Committee IOC and other leading sports bodies.

Instead of the sprinter she has spent years training to be, she became the focus of a challenge to sport's rules on gender, a cause celebre and evidence in a scientific debate about testosterone.

A history of suspicion Concerns about men masquerading as women to win medals have been around for almost as long as women have been allowed to play sport, which is surprising given how rare it is. He nearly won a bronze medal at the Olympics. Undeterred by the unlikelihood of a man successfully passing himself off as a woman, the IOC started comprehensive "gender verification" testing in Stella Walsh was the fastest woman in the world in the s, but a postmortem in revealed she had male genitalia as a result of a rare genetic condition called mosaicism Initially, this was done by asking female athletes to drop their underwear, but eventually a less humiliating method was found: Unfortunately, Mother Nature is not as black-and-white as your typical blazer would like his competitions to be, and it turns out there are a dozen different conditions that would once have been lumped under "hermaphrodite", but are now referred to by the less pejorative term of intersex, or disorders of sexual development.

Sport first cottoned on to this when Spanish hurdler Maria Jose Martinez-Patino was told in that she was an XY "man", but refused to quit or feign injury as it is widely believed many had before and spent the next three years fighting ignorance and ridicule to line up alongside women again.

She got there in the end, proving her Y chromosomes were the product of a rare genetic syndrome. She was also able to show that her condition meant she was insensitive to testosterone: Sadly, Martinez-Patino's most competitive years were behind her. It is not known what happened to the 13 women who "failed" gender tests at Olympics between and But sport seemed to have learned something, though, mainly that it did not know enough about these complicated issues, and by the end of the s gender verification was shelved, apart from in cases of extreme suspicion.

Moral panic And then Semenya burst onto the scene. A junior champion in , the muscular teenager took seven seconds off her personal best for m over the next nine months, breaking the South African record and setting a world-leading time in the process. The IAAF felt "obliged to investigate", if only to rule out doping. Hours before the start of the m final at the World Athletics Championships, a race Semenya would win by a huge margin, it was leaked that the sport's governing body had also asked for a gender test.

After Caster Semenya's crushing win at the Worlds, a Russian rival sniped: A young girl with a rare condition, and an even rarer talent, was subjected to a medical examination by media.

Semenya, now 24, returned to racing in , and won silver medals at the Worlds and Olympics. But she has never run as fast as she did as an year-old. Bruce Kidd, the Commonwealth champion in the imperial version of the 10,m, the six miles, has spent the last half century as a leading academic in the field of physical and health education.

The Canadian is also a self-confessed Olympian "of the old school", a champion of sport's ability to unite. Instead they hit the moral panic button. In the last 20 years it has become a kind of biological racism. Ashamed at the leaks and lack of scientific rigour, but stung by the reaction to Semenya's physique from some quarters, the IAAF asked an expert working group to come up with a plan for women with "excessive androgenic hormones", or hyperandrogenism.

India's Santhi Soundarajan was stripped of the m silver medal she won at the Asian Games when she failed a gender test - she tried to kill herself a year later Androgenic hormones are any natural or synthetic substance that control the development of male characteristics - everything from the formation of testes, to male pattern baldness - with the best known being testosterone. There is some disagreement over the normal spectrum of testosterone levels for men and women in general, but everybody agrees that typically there is a gap that emerges between the sexes during puberty.

In April , the new rules came into force. From this moment on, a confidential investigation could be made into any athlete where there were "reasonable grounds". This could be a complaint from a rival, or as a result of an anomaly in a drugs test. The process would be handled by experts, and "an effective therapeutic strategy" would be offered to any athlete found to have elevated levels of androgen.

Part of this investigation would include finding out if the athlete is benefiting from the testosterone. As was seen in the Martinez-Patino case, androgen insensitivity syndrome AIS means those elevated levels of the hormone can give a false picture of what is actually happening. But while all this is being established, the athletes are ineligible to compete. Sounds reasonable… doesn't it? The testosterone divide Peter Sonksen is a professor of endocrinology the study of hormones at St Thomas' Hospital in London.

It was his research for the IOC that eventually led to the development of an anti-doping test for Human Growth Hormone, but he is far from impressed with its work on testosterone.

It is clear discrimination. In other words, the gap that exists for testosterone between men and women in the general population does not exist among elite athletes. This research has been leapt upon by a growing body of campaigners who question the premise that testosterone is a significant factor in any discussions about differences between the sexes' athletic performances. For them, men's greater height, leaner body mass, narrower hips and higher counts of oxygen-carrying red blood cells are all more persuasive than testosterone.

But this is where we enter disputed territory, and a number of experts reacted angrily to what they saw as the misuse of Sonksen's HGH data. For them, there is little doubt of testosterone's impact, although most admit it is part of the mix, as opposed to being the only ingredient. An arbitrary line David Epstein is an award-winning writer for the US magazine Sports Illustrated, but he is perhaps better known as the author of "The Sports Gene", a myth-debunking look at "nature versus nurture".

The book details the many physical differences between men and women, including testosterone, which, when you add them all up, explain why unisex sport is a non-starter for most athletic pursuits. Small genetic differences, a gulf in performance Event.

Above controversy from sex sports view

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