Female track athletes with naturally elevated levels of testosterone MUST decrease the hormone to participate in certain races at major competitions like the Olympics, the highest court in international sports said Wednesday in a landmark ruling amid the pitched debate over who can compete in women’s events.
The decision was a defeat for Caster Semenya, a two-time Olympic champion at 800 meters from South Africa, who had challenged proposed limits placed on female athletes with naturally elevated levels of the muscle-building hormone testosterone.
Semenya, 27, called the rule, which is scheduled to go into effect in November for races from 400 meters to one mile, medically unnecessary, “discriminatory, irrational, and unjustifiable” and a violation of the rules of sports and universally-recognized human rights.
Semenya said the rule stigmatized women who do not conform to perceived notions of femininity and permitted discrimination against them. She argued that she should be able to compete the way she was born without “being obliged to alter her body by any medical means,” according to a statement released by her lawyers.
WE DON’T HEAR ABOUT MEN LOSING RACES BECAUSE OF HYPOANDROGENISM, SO WOMEN WINNING THEM BECAUSE OF HYPERANDROGENISM IS A SEXIST IDEA THAT SHOULD NOT BE ENCOURAGED.
At a time when the broader culture is moving toward an acceptance of gender fluidity, the ruling affirmed the sports world’s need for distinct gender lines, saying they were essential for the outcome of women’s events to be fair.
“The gender studies folks have spent the last 20 years deconstructing sex and all of a sudden they’re facing an institution with an entirely opposite story,” said Doriane Lambelet Coleman, a law professor at Duke and an elite 800-meter runner in the 1980s who served as an expert witness for the track and field’s world governing body.
WHY IS IT THAT WHEN WOMEN HAVE SHOWN EXTRAORDINARY PROWESS IN THE FIELD OF SPORT WHEN THEY HAVE WORKED HARD TO BETTER THEMSELVES AT EVERY EVENT, THAT THEIR SPIRIT HAS BEEN CRUSHED BY CALLING THEIR PROWESS “UNNATURAL”?
“We have to ask, ‘Is respecting gender identity more important or is seeing female bodies on the podium more important?’”