New Scientist: “Rip up new Olympic sex test rules”

Katrina Karkazis and Rebecca Jordan-Young write on testosterone testing in women athletes in the New Scientist Magazine on 23 July 2012:

Even if a decisive link had been established, should it be viewed as any different to other biological advantages broadly accepted in some elite athletes?

For example, several runners have mitochondrial conditions that enhance aerobic ability (Mitochondrion, vol 11, p 774). Some basketball players have acromegaly, a hormonal condition that results in enlarged hands and feet.

Hyperandrogenism is also a naturally occurring condition, no different from other exceptional biological variation in humans. So what makes this difference important? Well, as Hida Viloria, an intersex representative at the IOC meetings, noted in a letter to The New York Times, when the IOC was asked about the issue it said that these other physical and medical differences do not call the athlete’s sex into question. While the IOC is adamant that these new regulations are not “intended to make any determination of sex”, this looks a lot like sex testing.

Sports organisations need to stop policing biologically natural bodies, which can lead to harmful scrutiny of less feminine women, and allow all to compete, regardless of the level of naturally occurring hormones.

In short, these new sex testing policies must be scrapped.

We agree.

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