A court ruling requiring Olympic running sensation Caster Semenya to lower her testosterone levels goes to the heart of a dilemma facing the sports world: How to avoid discrimination against intersex or transgender athletes while ensuring that competitions are fair. The challenges faced by Semenya a South African woman who reportedly has some intersex traits differ in key respects from those confronting transgender women.
But there are parallels as well, as evidenced in Wednesday’s ruling by the Court of Arbitration for Sport; so the sports world’s highest court. The court ruled that Semenya and other female runners with unusually high testosterone; hence must take medication to reduce their levels of the male sex hormone. if they want to compete in certain events; so notably the 400 and 800 meters.
Compete in the Olympics
Comparable requirements apply to transgender women seeking to compete in the Olympicsl also in NCAA-governed collegiate sports in the U.S. Both organizations say male-to-female athletes should demonstrate that their testosterone level has been below a certain point for at least a year before their first competition.
In Semenya’s case, the court voted 2-1 to uphold proposed rules issued by the IAAF; so saying that they are discriminatory but that “such discrimination is a necessary; hence reasonable and proportionate means” of “preserving the integrity of female athletics. Athlete Ally, a U.S. base group advocating for greater transgender inclusion in sports; so assailed the ruling against Semenya.
Forcing athletes to undergo medically unnecessary interventions in order to participate in the sport; hence they dedicate their lives to is cruel and a violation of their human rights,” said the group’s executive director, Hudson Taylor. Also angered was Kimberly Zieselman, executive director of InterACT; which advocates on behalf of intersex youth.
It is an inherently flawed conclusion that Caster’s natural testosterone level; hence is the only thing giving her physical strength, Zieselman added. She noted while citing swimmer Michael Phelps long arms that many athletes have unique physical advantages. Powerful female stars such as Serena Williams in tennis; so Katie Ledecky in swimming and 6-foot-9 (2-meter) Brittney Griner in basketball also have cited as possessing a distinctive physical edge.
Prominent transgender male athletes
World-class triathlete Chris Moser, one of the few prominent transgender male athletes, suggested there was a racial element to the targeting of Semenya. They do not police white bodies in the same way, Mosier said in an email. When Katie Ledecky beat women in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games by an entire pool length, no one questioned her gender or her testosterone levels.
But there have been numerous bitter controversies, even at the high school level. In Connecticut, for example, the dominance of transgender girl sprinters Terry Miller and Andraya Yearwood; so has stirred resentment among some competitors and their families. At the adult level, USA Powerlifting incurred recent criticism for sticking by its policy of banning trans women from its competitions.
Earlier this year, tennis great Martina Navratilova became entangled in the debate over trans women’s place in sports. The gender identity doesn’t matter; it’s the testosterone levels,” Harper said. “Trans girls should have the right to compete in sports. But cisgender girls should have the right to compete and succeed, too. The IAAF argued in Semenya’s case that high, naturally occurring levels of testosterone in athletes; hence with intersex characteristics give them an unfair competitive advantage.
Semenya whose muscular build and super fast times have led some to question her accomplishments declared she will not be deterred by the court ruling. For a decade the IAAF has tried to slow me down; but this has actually made me stronger,” she said in a statement. They will once again rise above and continue to inspire young women and athletes in South Africa and around the world.