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  1. #1
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    Caster Semenya Decision

    The Court of Arbitration for Sport has upheld the IAAF's ruling that restricts testosterone levels for female athletes:
    https://www.bbc.com/sport/athletics/48102479

    I think it's the correct decision. Semenya should certainly be allowed to identify as a female in her personal life if she chooses, but that doesn't give her the right to compete as a woman. There is absolutely no question that her high testosterone levels give her a huge advantage over her competition.

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    I wonder why 100m, 200m and 200m hurdles are exempt. As a pure guess it seems that strength and muscle mass would be more important in those disciplines than in the 400m-1500m range that is being addressed.

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    Quote Originally Posted by iceman View Post
    I wonder why 100m, 200m and 200m hurdles are exempt. As a pure guess it seems that strength and muscle mass would be more important in those disciplines than in the 400m-1500m range that is being addressed.
    Yeah, I thought that was strange, too. Probably because this is essentially a rule designed to block Semenya and she's a middle distance runner. But it does seem short-sighted.

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    Quote Originally Posted by iceman View Post
    I wonder why 100m, 200m and 200m hurdles are exempt. As a pure guess it seems that strength and muscle mass would be more important in those disciplines than in the 400m-1500m range that is being addressed.
    Because Dutee Chand looks feminine, and Semenya looks like a dude. That's the closest thing to logic I can find here.

    Radiolab did a good episode about this subject last year: https://www.wnycstudios.org/story/dutee

    TL;DL: Female T levels are not as well correlated with performance as the IAAF claims they are.

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    this is certainly a vindication for the legalistic argument of what constitutes doping.

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    I have seen it reported but not widely that "she" has XY chromosomes , no womb and undescended balls. Per old rules I thnk she would have been considered a male would she not??
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    Quote Originally Posted by DougW View Post
    I have seen it reported but not widely that "she" has XY chromosomes , no womb and undescended balls. Per old rules I thnk she would have been considered a male would she not??
    Yes, that's my understanding. Saw this a couple days ago and thought it was interesting:
    https://slate.com/culture/2019/05/ca...one-track.html

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    If she looked like mary decker, this would never be an issue. I haven't seen anything concrete disputing her being a woman, so this seems pretty ridiculous

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    Also Dutee Chand isn't winning Olympic gold medals looking like she's out for a warm up jog.

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    Quote Originally Posted by The AD View Post
    Yes, that's my understanding. Saw this a couple days ago and thought it was interesting:
    https://slate.com/culture/2019/05/ca...one-track.html
    I mean, it does seem like you have to draw the line somewhere if you think womens' sports has value. Where do you draw it? No idea myself.

    Or maybe you just make it "sports" and women basically never win anything ever again.

    It's kinda one or the other.

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    I thought the article did a good job of discussing some of the nuances of the problem.

    "Female athlete" has to have some defining characteristic of the female sex category if it is to be a term of meaning and have fair competition. The definition shouldn't be gender driven as it appears to be in some areas of athletics.
    Last edited by Summit; 05-08-2019 at 08:59 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by DougW View Post
    I have seen it reported but not widely that "she" has XY chromosomes , no womb and undescended balls. Per old rules I thnk she would have been considered a male would she not??
    Source? Because as best as I can tell the results of her medical testing have never been reliably publicized.
    Assuming--and it's a fair assumption--that she is not an unambiguous man pretending to be a woman, does her higher than normal for a woman testosterone give her an unfair advantage. Probably. Does being tall give a basketball player an unfair advantage? Being born with a lot of super fast twitch fibers give a sprinter an advantage? All elite athletes are born with unfair advantages. As long as she is not doping her unfair advantage is no more unfair than any other athletic gift present at birth.

    I'm pretty sure there are few if any on this forum of either sex who could beat the second place finisher in any of Semanya's races. Her gift is far more than increased testosterone.

    Cases like Semanya's attract far more attention than their numbers warrant.

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    Quote Originally Posted by old goat View Post
    Source? Because as best as I can tell the results of her medical testing have never been reliably publicized.
    Assuming--and it's a fair assumption--that she is not an unambiguous man pretending to be a woman, does her higher than normal for a woman testosterone give her an unfair advantage. Probably. Does being tall give a basketball player an unfair advantage? Being born with a lot of super fast twitch fibers give a sprinter an advantage? All elite athletes are born with unfair advantages. As long as she is not doping her unfair advantage is no more unfair than any other athletic gift present at birth.

    I'm pretty sure there are few if any on this forum of either sex who could beat the second place finisher in any of Semanya's races. Her gift is far more than increased testosterone.

    Cases like Semanya's attract far more attention than their numbers warrant.
    Ok source https://www.letsrun.com/news/2019/05...y-chromosomes/

    now is it a good one? ... meh, but it is strange that the whole XY thing was not discussed in media, you see people commenting maybe assuming so i was looking for a source to back that up. She has hyperandrogenism but | take it that can have several causes. The way I see it XY vs XX is central. If XX and just has a condition then ok just like being tall etc. But if XY then really a guy or not a female so should compete against men. I don't think she is pretending but the exterior may be female looking but the internals and body chemistry may be pretty much male or lets say not female.
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    From the NYTimes: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/08/s...sultPosition=2

    This article makes the new rules sound much more nuanced?

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    She has "semen" in her name. That makes her a dude in my eyes.
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    Quote Originally Posted by old goat View Post
    I'm pretty sure there are few if any on this forum of either sex who could beat the second place finisher in any of Semanya's races. Her gift is far more than increased testosterone.

    Cases like Semanya's attract far more attention than their numbers warrant.
    This is about more than the rare case of a Semanya in the small population elite athletics. I think the larger public interest is whether those who have the immutable biological athletic advantages imparted by male hormones and genetics should compete against those with the same advantages (other males), or against those who didn't (females) when that person identifies as a gender (woman) that traditionally competes as female.

    Semanya's case is rarer, but biological males gender identifying as women is increasing in frequency and leading to competition fairness questions at all level of female athletics when males who would not be particularly competitive against other males are highly competitive against females, even if society recognizes them both as women.
    Quote Originally Posted by blurred
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    Quote Originally Posted by Summit View Post
    ...

    Semanya's case is rarer, but biological males gender identifying as women is increasing in frequency and leading to competition fairness questions at all level of female athletics when males who would not be particularly competitive against other males are highly competitive against females, even if society recognizes them both as women.
    this but wasn't she in a recent race first of 3 intersex "female" athletes so the girl who came in 4th was the first conventional she?

    Anyway yes its a bigger picture as many more trans than intersex . I really don't care as not female so it might be pretty funny in 8 years every elite female athlete doesn't look at all like a normal female. To win will have to have been a male at birth or at least have XY. So much for role models for little girls. There will be a new glass ceiling but this one will be the testosterone ceiling. It will be funny as shit because of the logical knots the PC left will have to create to explain /support that outcome.
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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by old goat View Post
    Source? ....
    better source https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/08/s...sultPosition=2

    The decision, issued last week by the Swiss-based Court of Arbitration for Sport, applies only to those defined by the International Association of Athletics Federations, or I.A.A.F., as intersex athletes. To be affected by the ruling, an athlete must have an X chromosome and a Y — “the standard male chromosomal pattern,” said Dr. Joshua Safer, executive director of the transgender program in the Mt. Sinai Health System. People with the combination of an X and a Y have long been defined as male."

    so only applies if XY, so if you wanted to run it would apply to you to
    Mrs. Dougw- "I can see how one of your relatives could have been killed by an angry mob."

    Quote Originally Posted by ill-advised strategy View Post
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by old goat View Post
    does her higher than normal for a woman testosterone give her an unfair advantage. Probably. Does being tall give a basketball player an unfair advantage? Being born with a lot of super fast twitch fibers give a sprinter an advantage? All elite athletes are born with unfair advantages. As long as she is not doping her unfair advantage is no more unfair than any other athletic gift present at birth.
    I agree with what David Epstein says here and he says it better than I could so I'll just quote him:
    Epstein: On Twitter, a lot of people were sharing a picture of Michael Phelps’ arms, with people saying, “He’s got long arms, and that’s natural. So why would we regulate Caster Semenya for high levels of testosterone?” Well, on the Paula Radcliffe side, the problem with that argument is that we don’t divide sports by arm length. We do divide it by sex. If you’re going to have a female classification, it has to mean something. The reason we have the female classification is because there’s tremendous value in having women’s sports. If we only had one competitive classification for all comers, then the best women wouldn’t be able to compete with the best man. The question is, how do you define who is allowed entry into that female classification? Again, we don’t divide sports by arm length or height. But testosterone is not height. A man in the low level of the typical male testosterone range still has testosterone several hundred percent higher than a woman at the top of the typical female range. I think the Paula Radcliffe side is saying, We need the women’s classification to mean something. Testosterone is a reasonable surrogate marker for differences of biological sex.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by old goat View Post
    I'm pretty sure there are few if any on this forum of either sex who could beat the second place finisher in any of Semanya's races. Her gift is far more than increased testosterone.

    Cases like Semanya's attract far more attention than their numbers warrant.
    IMO they erred in allowing competitors with XY chromosome’s to compete in women’s sport.

    While that maybe true that few if any on the forum could win against her, it is beside the point. For a fair comparison you’d need to allow all these desk jockeys to train at it for a decade starting as teens or younger. A male with natural capabilities similar to Semenya would not be able to make a career out of running and in most cases would stop training at an elite level after highschool or college.

    As I’ve mentioned before, I trained alongside the premier women’s rugby team in New England. They won the US championship a few times when I knew them. It was happenstance of working out at the same place in the same time slot and I was a good partner for a few of the bigger stronger women.

    I am not an athletically gifted person, something made very plain when I had the opportunity to train along side those who were. But I was stronger than every woman on that team, even those who were my size (or bigger). They trained more consistently than I did, worked harder, ate better, and took supplements (legal ones), but I was still significantly stronger and as fast or faster as any of the large athletes. Testes are a hell of a performance enhancer.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DougW View Post
    Ok source https://www.letsrun.com/news/2019/05...y-chromosomes/

    now is it a good one? ... meh, but it is strange that the whole XY thing was not discussed in media, you see people commenting maybe assuming so i was looking for a source to back that up. She has hyperandrogenism but | take it that can have several causes. The way I see it XY vs XX is central. If XX and just has a condition then ok just like being tall etc. But if XY then really a guy or not a female so should compete against men. I don't think she is pretending but the exterior may be female looking but the internals and body chemistry may be pretty much male or lets say not female.
    If the article is correct--this from Wikipedia: "XY gonadal dysgenesis, also known as Swyer syndrome, is a type of hypogonadism in a person whose karyotype is 46,XY. They typically have normal female external genitalia, identify as female, and are raised as girls"

    As the article points out XX is female, XY is male as we were taught in junior high school. Except that things are a lot more complicated than we were taught in junior high. What matters are the individual genes on the chromosomes and how the genes are expressed. Making the chromosomes the ultimate determiner of gender is an artificial and arbitrary standard; no more valid than the standard of having female external genitalia and having been considered a girl at birth and raised as such. I modify my argument--if Semenya was born with an advantage--a Y chromosomes--that is no more unfair than the advantages all elite athletes are born with. We accept that some athletes have biological advantages over others; we only ask that they not cheat.

    You can extend this argument beyond sports--lots of people are born with unfair advantages. Looks, brains, born into wealth. We do not condemn people for these advantages; we only ask that they not cheat. The great lie is that all of us have the potential to be anything and do anything we aspire to, if only we dedicate ourselves and work hard enough.

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    We may be going the road of the paralympics - or other sports (I am thinking lightweight sculls or weight classes in boxing, wrestling, lifting) - where two classes (men/women) isn’t enough.

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    Quote Originally Posted by neufox47 View Post
    IMO they erred in allowing competitors with XY chromosome’s to compete in women’s sport.
    The fact that you say "sport" instead of "sports" invalidates your argument.

    But seriously--in the specific case of Semenya we are not talking about strength but speed and endurance. While you may be stronger than elite female rugby players, the percentage of men who could outrace an elite female middle distance runner is very low, no matter how hard they trained. But that misses my point: I am not denying that she has an advantage. I am denying that the advantage is unfair.

    Semenya can't father children. How about if we make that the standard of maleness? Or consider that she was born with some serious disadvantages--the ability to bear or father children or have the same access to intimate relationships most of us have. Given that she has to bear her disadvantages shouldn't she be allowed to make use of her advantages?

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    Quote Originally Posted by neufox47 View Post
    IMO they erred in allowing competitors with XY chromosome’s to compete in women’s sport.

    While that maybe true that few if any on the forum could win against her, it is beside the point. For a fair comparison you’d need to allow all these desk jockeys to train at it for a decade starting as teens or younger. A male with natural capabilities similar to Semenya would not be able to make a career out of running and in most cases would stop training at an elite level after highschool or college.

    As I’ve mentioned before, I trained alongside the premier women’s rugby team in New England. They won the US championship a few times when I knew them. It was happenstance of working out at the same place in the same time slot and I was a good partner for a few of the bigger stronger women.

    I am not an athletically gifted person, something made very plain when I had the opportunity to train along side those who were. But I was stronger than every woman on that team, even those who were my size (or bigger). They trained more consistently than I did, worked harder, ate better, and took supplements (legal ones), but I was still significantly stronger and as fast or faster as any of the large athletes. Testes are a hell of a performance enhancer.
    For context:
    I ran track competitively. When I was 18, I was one of the stronger runners on my high school team, though not a star. I quit during my freshman year of college (DIII) because I wasn't a great talent and would rather party than sweat long hours striving for the glory of 4th place finishes in dual meets. I wish I had stuck with it. More sports and less partying in college would've been a good thing for me. It's water under the bridge, though.

    At that time, any woman aside perhaps from roided-up Marion Jones would have to have a very strong race to have a shot against me in the long sprints. I have no doubt that had I stuck with it through college, my 400m PR would be within a few tenths, one side or the other, of the women's world record. And I was a pretty run of the mill boys track and field runner. It was a totally reasonable choice to throw in the towel at age 19 and NCAA DIII for me.


    I don't have a strong opinion on the Semenya brouhaha and haven't followed it closely. I do think there's a value in women's athletics and I do think you need to draw a line somewhere. I don't love the way she was seemingly targeted by this rule.

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    Quote Originally Posted by neufox47 View Post
    IMO they erred in allowing competitors with XY chromosome’s to compete in women’s sport.
    Sex determination is way more complicated than XX vs. XY: https://www.wnycstudios.org/story/gonads-xy

    What rubs me the wrong way about this is that it's a rule clearly targeted at excluding one specific individual. Rules in sports should apply to everyone equally. IAAF wants to set an arbitrary cutoff for women's T levels, fine, but it needs to apply to everyone in all events.

    Also, let's not forget that the history of sex testing in sports is really, really ugly. Like, doctors digitally examining competitors vaginas ugly. "You must have a uterus" (or some variation of that theme) would be a much better rule than "Your T levels must be below X" but apparently the IAAF is way too chicken to go there.
    Last edited by Dantheman; 05-09-2019 at 10:42 AM.

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