12 votes

World Medical Association warns doctors not to enforce IAAF testosterone rule affecting Caster Semenya

7 comments

  1. [7]
    acdw Link
    I just heard about this the other day, and it really annoys me! The conversation I was having with my friends was basically, If Semenya were a man would this even be an issue? and I don't think it...

    I just heard about this the other day, and it really annoys me! The conversation I was having with my friends was basically, If Semenya were a man would this even be an issue? and I don't think it would be. The doctor in the article even mentions about how ridiculous it would be if basketball players were asked to reduce their height.

    The whole point of sport is to see what the most a human body can do is. That's why they're competitive, and no professional athlete has a "normal" physique -- they're all naturally gifted in one way or another. Semenya's just another example.

    I wonder if changing the classifications in sport from Male--Female to a range of testosterone, or some other hormone, levels would be a good way to keep sport "fair"? I don't know.

    6 votes
    1. [4]
      burkaman Link Parent
      That's not necessary, because "testosterone makes you better" isn't even true. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/03/opinion/testosterone-caster-semenya.html

      That's not necessary, because "testosterone makes you better" isn't even true.

      Even the International Association of Athletics Federations’ own analysis of testosterone and performance, involving more than 1,100 women competing in track and field events, shows that for six of the 11 running events, women with lower testosterone actually did better than those with higher levels.

      8 votes
      1. Gaywallet (edited ) Link Parent
        It's fucking absurd because even in men until you reach supraphysiological levels there's no effect on physical performance.

        It's fucking absurd because even in men until you reach supraphysiological levels there's no effect on physical performance.

        5 votes
      2. [2]
        acdw Link Parent
        Wow, I was completely wrong. Thank you for the education -- I've been buying into a myth about the singular nature of testosterone when it's far more complex than it seems. I agree with the last...

        Wow, I was completely wrong. Thank you for the education -- I've been buying into a myth about the singular nature of testosterone when it's far more complex than it seems.

        I agree with the last part of the article which stresses the harm that overly-simplistic male-female myths can impose, especially on women. I'm not sure what the solution to the growing feeling, as the author writes, of lower-testosterone women that allowing women like Semenya to compete against them is unfair. Maybe there's not a solution other than changing attitudes.

        4 votes
        1. Gaywallet Link Parent
          They're literally pulling false narratives out of the air because they are easy ways to discriminate. Even among male athletes, testosterone level is not necessarily indicative of performance. A...

          They're literally pulling false narratives out of the air because they are easy ways to discriminate. Even among male athletes, testosterone level is not necessarily indicative of performance. A study on elite level athletes revealed that testosterone levels among males who participated in throwing (primarily strength based) events were on average lower than testosterone levels among males who participated in non-throwing events such as walking, running, sprinting, and jumping.

          In this same study they did find an association between serum free testosterone (not to be confused with total testosterone) levels in females and performance in certain events (400m, 400m hurdles, 800m, hammer throw, and pole vault) but the margin was quite low (<5%) and was likely a fluke of the small sample size because similar events such as the 100m, 100m hurdles, 200m, discus, shot put, javelin, and various jumping events did not have the same association despite being very similar in presentation.

          The reality is that unless you're hitting supraphysiological levels or have a deficient level of testosterone, falling on the low or high end of what is possible doesn't affect athletic performance as much as other much more important genetic factors such as build and fiber type distribution.

          4 votes
    2. [2]
      Birb Link Parent
      I think in the future that sort of classification will be the way to go, especially as gender barriers are further broken and our idea of sex in general changes. Perhaps it could be like weight...

      I think in the future that sort of classification will be the way to go, especially as gender barriers are further broken and our idea of sex in general changes. Perhaps it could be like weight classes that we have in some sports. It'll certainly be an interesting change in the world of sports/physical competitions if we manage to get there.

      5 votes
      1. acdw Link Parent
        I was thinking like weight classes, absolutely. I think gender is just a rough approximation for that as it is. Of course, I recognize where I'm coming from (as a cis white hetero dude) and how...

        I was thinking like weight classes, absolutely. I think gender is just a rough approximation for that as it is. Of course, I recognize where I'm coming from (as a cis white hetero dude) and how that's a very different place than many of the athletes we're talking about here.

        2 votes