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Information Analyst 2nd May 2019 02:36 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Darat (Post 12681941)
I really disagree with this decision, they are saying that she must take very powerful drugs to compete. Are they happy to pay for her medical bills from any side effects of these powerful drugs? By the way with her this decision is not about trans women, it is about women who have higher than average for women testosterone levels in their blood. I do hope they will enforce this consistently, so we shall see taller than average men and shorter than average men not being allowed to compete in races unless their height is adjusted to be the average for men. Can't have people using their natural biological gifts to unfair advantage.

It was interesting that BBC Breakfast had a sports scientist on who pointed out the elite competition can be dominated genetic outliers that give a competitive advantage, and there are many such traits that are deemed acceptable that are no less severe than the one in this particular case.

Belz... 2nd May 2019 02:37 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Darat (Post 12682289)
What's wrong with the current categories? Men compete against men and women against women that seems to be how sport is generally played.

Actually it's males against males and females against females. The problem is trying to get people who aren't normally classified as those into those categories. So the solution would be no categories, so no one can complain. Right?

Puppycow 2nd May 2019 03:28 AM

I'll just leave this here.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BwxgbyQg...ource=ig_embed

(9 new "world records" in 1 day!)

ponderingturtle 2nd May 2019 03:52 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by The Atheist (Post 12682228)
Guess what else? They didn't say Semenya was a woman, either.

Semenya is intersex. Neither one nor t'other.

Did they actually say that? Is abnormally high testosterone enough to be considered an intersex condition? Then of course abnormally low testosterone must also be intersex. What are the exact definitions then to qualify?

GlennB 2nd May 2019 04:15 AM

Any googling of testosterone/athletics/performance is totally swamped with the Semenya case, but I believe that male athletes who are found to have unnaturally high testosterone levels are liable to disqualification, loss of medals, suspension and the like.

There was the famous case of Olympic sprint champion Dennis Mitchell, who was let off a possible 2-year suspension after he claimed his too-high testosterone level had been boosted by a marathon sex session with his wife.

The point - if unnaturally high testosterone is treated this way among men, why should women get a free pass? Because it's always high in Semenya's case, someone will say, it's her natural state. In which case any male can avoid banning by keeping theirs high at all times too, so their testing records don't show any wild peaks.

Meadmaker 2nd May 2019 04:43 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by qayak (Post 12682371)
Notice how the choice is always to compete in the category where you have a huge advantage and are assured victory and not in the category where you actually have to work your ass off to be competitive?


I doubt that Semenya is "assured victory" as a female athlete. I don't think her natural advantage is enough to enable her to compete at that level without living an athletic life and working quite hard at it. I also believe that no matter how hard she works, she isn't "man enough" to ever be competitive on the male circuit.


In the abstract, I agree with The Atheist's position that intersexed is a separate category, but in reality there are so very few people in that category that you can't do that.


It's a difficult situation to judge, to be sure. One thing that I am absolutely, 100% against is the position that the athletic governing body seems to be taking, which is, "We'll let you compete as a woman, but only if you take these drugs." That, to me, seems a very, very, bad idea.


So what's left? We either say, "You are a freak, and shouldn't be allowed to compete anywhere." or we let her compete as a woman.


And the actual decision in any individual case, like Semenya's, might depend on exactly what the gynecologist sees, but isn't going to tell anyone. I said it should depend on genitalia. Does she have a vagina, or does she have a very rare birth defect that didn't allow "his" junk to end up fully and normally formed?

cullennz 2nd May 2019 05:07 AM

I did think Semenya was a separate case when all this originally happened and it was pretty obvious it wasn't really clear to everyone. And I would point out including her.

Now Semenya has had so many tests etc. Tend to agree with Atheist

Rolfe 2nd May 2019 06:11 AM

You know, "intersex" isn't a category. It's a catch-all term for disorders (or "differences" to be politically corrext) in sexual development. There are about 40 or so distinct conditions under this umbrella and in the vast majority of these cases there is no doubt at all as to the person's sex. These are males or females with a recognisable abnormality of some sort. Even hypospadias is included in this category but I don't think anyone would claim that a child with hypospadias isn't a boy.

In a fairly small minority of cases the sex of the person is indeed ambiguous, at least on external viewing. However genetic and other testing can correctly classify these people as well. If Caster Semenya had been born in a different society with better access to healthcare as a baby it's quite possible she would have been discovered to be male at that stage, and brought up as a boy. Since that didn't happen we don't know how she would have developed. All we know is that she was brought up as a girl and has never sought to claim a masculine identity.

However, "intersex" individuals cover a wide variety of different conditions and they can't be put in a single box and told, here, this is where you compete. Once again the males would trounce the females. And as I said, even people with DSDs are either male or female.

While it's true that in >99% of cases XX chromosomes make a girl and XY a boy, there are a small number of exceptions to this. In fact, the presence of a Y makes a boy and the absence of a Y makes a girl. To go further than that, it isn't the Y chromosome as such that makes a boy, but the presence of an SRY gene (which is usually located on that chromosome). However some XY individuals do not have a functioning SRY gene and these develop as girls (Swyer's syndrome). Conversely it occasionally happens that an X chromosome has an SRY gene translocated on to it and someone with this genotype will develop as a male even though the genotype is XX.

So, functional SRY gene = male, no functional SRY gene = female? Not quite.

In order for the SRY gene to produce a male foetus, functional androgen receptors are required. Thus someone with an XY genotype, and an SRY gene, but who has no functioning androgen receptors, will also be female. This condition is known as CAIS - complete androgen insensitivity syndrome.

So, absence of SRY gene = female. Presence of functional SRY gene but absence of functional androgen receptors = female. Presence of functional SRY gene and functional androgen receptors = male.

It is Caster Semenya's misfortune that she is in the third of these categories. She is genetically XY, but this was concealed for many years (until yesterday as it happens). She was always presented as a hyperandrogenised, virilised female, and on that basis I and many other people vociferously supported her right to compete as a woman. (The condition she was believed to have is late-onset adrenal hyperlplasia, where a woman's adrenal glands make abnormally large amounts of testosterone.)

We were misled. Caster Semenya is XY, but was born with her testes located internally and the external appearance (as a baby) of being a girl. The cause of this appears to be a poor but not nonexistent response to androgens, known as PAIS - partial androgen insensitivity syndrome. (This part is informed speculation at this stage.) She was brought up as a girl in perfectly good faith, until at puberty she began to look more and more masculine. She competed in women's athletics, with the partial and misleading information that was made public leading everyone to believe she was XX with a virilisation syndrome. However, she had been tested and the SA authorities knew perfectly well this wasn't true. The athletics federations must have known too.

If this had been the 1970s she'd have been disqualified as soon as her genotype was discovered, but it wasn't. This was the time when the athletics authorities were caving in to pressure from the trans rights activists to open women's sports to male-bodied people. And it appears that they were content to let Semenya's case slide past, possibly because of these ongoing developments.

Semenya has become more and more obviously masculine as she has matured. She has a Y chromosome and that Y chromosome has an SRY gene on it, and she clearly does not have CAIS (this is what someone with CAIS looks like). She may well have PAIS, but she has functional androgen receptors as can be clearly seen from her evidently masculine phenotype, and this is proved by the fact that medically reducing her testosterone concentration significantly reduces her performance.

The new rules to allow males to compete in women's events required male-bodied athletes to lower their testosterone to below 10 nmol/l. The gross unfairness of this to actual women is something I will leave aside for now. In fact this did not impact on Semenya, because while normal male testosterone will spike to 40 to 50 nmol/l, she didn't go above 10 nmol/l naturally. (Normal female concentration is more like 0.5 nmol/l.) So that was fine, Semenya didn't have to take the testosterone-lowering drugs.

Then it was proposed to lower the ceiling for women's events to 5 nmol/l, to go some way to addressing the manifest unfairness of the 10 nmol/l rule. This did impact on Semenya, who has natural testosterone concentrations over 5 nmol/l. She knows that if she reduces this, her performance will be impacted. So she appealled to the CAS on the grounds that as she was actually a woman, this rule should not apply to her.

This is where it gets murky. On the assumption that she was a hypervirilised XX, many people (including me) supported her. However, she's not a hypervirilised XX. She's XY. She is, technically, biologically male, and the CAS knows that. She's not an advantaged female, she's a disadvantaged male. They ruled that as a biological male, she is subject to the same restrictions as other biological males who are permitted to compete in women's events. She has to lower her testosterone.

And this seems like a just ruling to me. The CAS was quite explicit that if the situation had been as we were all led to believe, that she was XX with adrenal hyperplasia, she would have won the case. But she's not, and so she lost.

And she has lost badly, because her XY genotype is now public knowledge, although it was something she really didn't want known. The people who said "look at that, that's a man" are feeling vindicated right now. Goodness knows what this is doing to her mental health.

But it seems the SA athletics authorities were too keen to keep the star runner on their team, without her having to lower her testosterone, that they forced the issue regardless. Despite knowing that she was XY and biologically male, they tried to browbeat the CAS with allegations of racism and discrimination to bully them into treating Semenya as a female. The CAS declined to be bullied, and now the whole story (or most of it) is public knowledge.

It's a real shame for Caster Semenya, but it was the right decision.

ponderingturtle 2nd May 2019 07:44 AM

Can we get Michael Phelps kicked out and his medals and records revoked now too for being a medical oddity with advantages to his performance?

https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifes...=.10144b77ab1d

" Phelps possesses a disproportionately vast wingspan, for example. Double-jointed ankles give his kick unusual range. In a quirk that borders on supernatural, Phelps apparently produces just half the lactic acid of a typical athlete — and since lactic acid causes fatigue, he’s simply better equipped at a biological level to excel in his sport.

I’m thinking of those stories, because I’m thinking about the ways Michael Phelps was treated as wondrous marvel. Nobody suggested he should be forced to have corrective surgery on his double-jointed ankles, nobody decided he should take medication to boost his lactic levels."

Clearly Phelps needs massive corrective surgery to be allowed to compete. It is after all only in the name of fairness right? Genetic freaks like the two of them need to be kept out of sports.

8enotto 2nd May 2019 09:33 AM

Feelings and " other " category rights are one thing but DNA is pretty clear.

Half of Olympic sports looks like the East German women's weight lifting team joke anymore really, but they felt a line had to be drawn and Ms Caster was the definitive point.

There is still a future for the other category athletes. Add in a big enough fan base and create non gender specific competitions in the popular sports. Need not be professional level exclusively rather something many could join and rub elbows with the pros out on the track.

Take some of the snobbery out and give the sports back to the people.

d4m10n 2nd May 2019 09:41 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Belz... (Post 12682433)
Actually it's males against males and females against females. The problem is trying to get people who aren't normally classified as those into those categories. So the solution would be no categories, so no one can complain. Right?

People put this forward as a reductio but I'm not sure whether halving top level sport would be bad for humankind.

Meadmaker 2nd May 2019 10:27 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by d4m10n (Post 12682745)
People put this forward as a reductio but I'm not sure whether halving top level sport would be bad for humankind.

But if you get rid of women's top level sport, you end up getting rid of girls' mid level sport. I think that would be bad.

Meadmaker 2nd May 2019 10:45 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Rolfe (Post 12682540)
You know, "intersex" isn't a category. It's a catch-all term for disorders (or "differences" to be politically corrext) in sexual development. There are about 40 or so distinct conditions under this umbrella and in the vast majority of these cases there is no doubt at all as to the person's sex. These are males or females with a recognisable abnormality of some sort. Even hypospadias is included in this category but I don't think anyone would claim that a child with hypospadias isn't a boy.

...


It's a real shame for Caster Semenya, but it was the right decision.

Thanks for that write up. Very informative.


It's a tough case, to be sure. I'm still inclined to let her compete as a woman, but I'm far less confident in that judgment now that I've read what you wrote.

I'm still of the opinion that if someone was ever clearly a biological male, they should only be allowed on the men's side. That doesn't apply to Caster, but it sounds like that might just be a mistake. I will have to think about it.

Belz... 2nd May 2019 11:16 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Meadmaker (Post 12682786)
But if you get rid of women's top level sport, you end up getting rid of girls' mid level sport. I think that would be bad.

Exactly the point.

I don't think we can have all of the cake, here. If we have everyone compete in the same category, women will essentially be taken out of top competitions, which affects the lower-tier ones as well. If we instead split those in two -- one for each sex -- that problem disappears, but it means that marginal cases such as trans people and intersex might not be able to compete at all.

Cold equation: exclude less than 1% of the abled population, or 50%?

Darat 2nd May 2019 11:29 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Belz... (Post 12682433)
Actually it's males against males and females against females. The problem is trying to get people who aren't normally classified as those into those categories. So the solution would be no categories, so no one can complain. Right?

That seems rather daft to me.

Darat 2nd May 2019 11:39 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by GlennB (Post 12682458)
Any googling of testosterone/athletics/performance is totally swamped with the Semenya case, but I believe that male athletes who are found to have unnaturally high testosterone levels are liable to disqualification, loss of medals, suspension and the like.

There was the famous case of Olympic sprint champion Dennis Mitchell, who was let off a possible 2-year suspension after he claimed his too-high testosterone level had been boosted by a marathon sex session with his wife.

The point - if unnaturally high testosterone is treated this way among men, why should women get a free pass? Because it's always high in Semenya's case, someone will say, it's her natural state. In which case any male can avoid banning by keeping theirs high at all times too, so their testing records don't show any wild peaks.

The word you are getting wrong is "unnaturally", in the world of sports that means pretty much by drugs. No athlete is banned because to use another example they have higher blood oxygen carrying capacity because they've been training at high altitude, that's considered natural, achieve the same effect by a drug and that's considered unnatural and isn't allowed. If athletics wants to prevent people with biology that is ourside the "average" or "norm" then they would be preventing all their current athletes from competing unless they take drugs to bring them back to the norm.

Darat 2nd May 2019 11:43 AM

Am I being newsblinded, where was her genotype publicly revealed yesterday?

jimbob 2nd May 2019 11:54 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Rolfe (Post 12682540)
You know, "intersex" isn't a category. It's a catch-all term for disorders (or "differences" to be politically corrext) in sexual development. There are about 40 or so distinct conditions under this umbrella and in the vast majority of these cases there is no doubt at all as to the person's sex. These are males or females with a recognisable abnormality of some sort. Even hypospadias is included in this category but I don't think anyone would claim that a child with hypospadias isn't a boy.

In a fairly small minority of cases the sex of the person is indeed ambiguous, at least on external viewing. However genetic and other testing can correctly classify these people as well. If Caster Semenya had been born in a different society with better access to healthcare as a baby it's quite possible she would have been discovered to be male at that stage, and brought up as a boy. Since that didn't happen we don't know how she would have developed. All we know is that she was brought up as a girl and has never sought to claim a masculine identity.

However, "intersex" individuals cover a wide variety of different conditions and they can't be put in a single box and told, here, this is where you compete. Once again the males would trounce the females. And as I said, even people with DSDs are either male or female.

While it's true that in >99% of cases XX chromosomes make a girl and XY a boy, there are a small number of exceptions to this. In fact, the presence of a Y makes a boy and the absence of a Y makes a girl. To go further than that, it isn't the Y chromosome as such that makes a boy, but the presence of an SRY gene (which is usually located on that chromosome). However some XY individuals do not have a functioning SRY gene and these develop as girls (Swyer's syndrome). Conversely it occasionally happens that an X chromosome has an SRY gene translocated on to it and someone with this genotype will develop as a male even though the genotype is XX.

So, functional SRY gene = male, no functional SRY gene = female? Not quite.

In order for the SRY gene to produce a male foetus, functional androgen receptors are required. Thus someone with an XY genotype, and an SRY gene, but who has no functioning androgen receptors, will also be female. This condition is known as CAIS - complete androgen insensitivity syndrome.

So, absence of SRY gene = female. Presence of functional SRY gene but absence of functional androgen receptors = female. Presence of functional SRY gene and functional androgen receptors = male.

It is Caster Semenya's misfortune that she is in the third of these categories. She is genetically XY, but this was concealed for many years (until yesterday as it happens). She was always presented as a hyperandrogenised, virilised female, and on that basis I and many other people vociferously supported her right to compete as a woman. (The condition she was believed to have is late-onset adrenal hyperlplasia, where a woman's adrenal glands make abnormally large amounts of testosterone.)

We were misled. Caster Semenya is XY, but was born with her testes located internally and the external appearance (as a baby) of being a girl. The cause of this appears to be a poor but not nonexistent response to androgens, known as PAIS - partial androgen insensitivity syndrome. (This part is informed speculation at this stage.) She was brought up as a girl in perfectly good faith, until at puberty she began to look more and more masculine. She competed in women's athletics, with the partial and misleading information that was made public leading everyone to believe she was XX with a virilisation syndrome. However, she had been tested and the SA authorities knew perfectly well this wasn't true. The athletics federations must have known too.

If this had been the 1970s she'd have been disqualified as soon as her genotype was discovered, but it wasn't. This was the time when the athletics authorities were caving in to pressure from the trans rights activists to open women's sports to male-bodied people. And it appears that they were content to let Semenya's case slide past, possibly because of these ongoing developments.

Semenya has become more and more obviously masculine as she has matured. She has a Y chromosome and that Y chromosome has an SRY gene on it, and she clearly does not have CAIS (this is what someone with CAIS looks like). She may well have PAIS, but she has functional androgen receptors as can be clearly seen from her evidently masculine phenotype, and this is proved by the fact that medically reducing her testosterone concentration significantly reduces her performance.

The new rules to allow males to compete in women's events required male-bodied athletes to lower their testosterone to below 10 nmol/l. The gross unfairness of this to actual women is something I will leave aside for now. In fact this did not impact on Semenya, because while normal male testosterone will spike to 40 to 50 nmol/l, she didn't go above 10 nmol/l naturally. (Normal female concentration is more like 0.5 nmol/l.) So that was fine, Semenya didn't have to take the testosterone-lowering drugs.

Then it was proposed to lower the ceiling for women's events to 5 nmol/l, to go some way to addressing the manifest unfairness of the 10 nmol/l rule. This did impact on Semenya, who has natural testosterone concentrations over 5 nmol/l. She knows that if she reduces this, her performance will be impacted. So she appealled to the CAS on the grounds that as she was actually a woman, this rule should not apply to her.

This is where it gets murky. On the assumption that she was a hypervirilised XX, many people (including me) supported her. However, she's not a hypervirilised XX. She's XY. She is, technically, biologically male, and the CAS knows that. She's not an advantaged female, she's a disadvantaged male. They ruled that as a biological male, she is subject to the same restrictions as other biological males who are permitted to compete in women's events. She has to lower her testosterone.

And this seems like a just ruling to me. The CAS was quite explicit that if the situation had been as we were all led to believe, that she was XX with adrenal hyperplasia, she would have won the case. But she's not, and so she lost.

And she has lost badly, because her XY genotype is now public knowledge, although it was something she really didn't want known. The people who said "look at that, that's a man" are feeling vindicated right now. Goodness knows what this is doing to her mental health.

But it seems the SA athletics authorities were too keen to keep the star runner on their team, without her having to lower her testosterone, that they forced the issue regardless. Despite knowing that she was XY and biologically male, they tried to browbeat the CAS with allegations of racism and discrimination to bully them into treating Semenya as a female. The CAS declined to be bullied, and now the whole story (or most of it) is public knowledge.

It's a real shame for Caster Semenya, but it was the right decision.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Belz... (Post 12682838)
Exactly the point.

I don't think we can have all of the cake, here. If we have everyone compete in the same category, women will essentially be taken out of top competitions, which affects the lower-tier ones as well. If we instead split those in two -- one for each sex -- that problem disappears, but it means that marginal cases such as trans people and intersex might not be able to compete at all.

Cold equation: exclude less than 1% of the abled population, or 50%?


Until I was pointed to Rolfe's post, I thought she was a hypervirlilsed XX and thought she should compete as a woman.

I think chromosomes* have to be the least arbitrary discriminator - and in the case of women's sport a line should be drawn, and I'd say at the limit of natural endowment but not artificial. Setting a limit solely on testosterone, but allowing genetic males to compete seems problematic because there almost certainly is a legacy effect - say from the testosterone at adolescence, so a genetic male who has transitioned might be at an advantage. 8enotto mentioned the East German weightlifting team, it's fairly easy to imagine a regime like the DPRK coercing some male athletes to transition if the only limit was testosterone levels for the previous 6-months, say.



*I am unsure where XXY, for example should be classed.

Ziggurat 2nd May 2019 12:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jimbob (Post 12682898)
*I am unsure where XXY, for example should be classed.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Klinefelter_syndrome

People with XXY are definitely male.

jimbob 2nd May 2019 12:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by GlennB (Post 12682458)
Any googling of testosterone/athletics/performance is totally swamped with the Semenya case, but I believe that male athletes who are found to have unnaturally high testosterone levels are liable to disqualification, loss of medals, suspension and the like.

There was the famous case of Olympic sprint champion Dennis Mitchell, who was let off a possible 2-year suspension after he claimed his too-high testosterone level had been boosted by a marathon sex session with his wife.

The point - if unnaturally high testosterone is treated this way among men, why should women get a free pass? Because it's always high in Semenya's case, someone will say, it's her natural state. In which case any male can avoid banning by keeping theirs high at all times too, so their testing records don't show any wild peaks.

BBC inside science had an interview about the performance implications today: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0004mfv



Quote:

Originally Posted by Darat (Post 12682874)
The word you are getting wrong is "unnaturally", in the world of sports that means pretty much by drugs. No athlete is banned because to use another example they have higher blood oxygen carrying capacity because they've been training at high altitude, that's considered natural, achieve the same effect by a drug and that's considered unnatural and isn't allowed. If athletics wants to prevent people with biology that is ourside the "average" or "norm" then they would be preventing all their current athletes from competing unless they take drugs to bring them back to the norm.

According to the poster Tom P on Badscience, one can easily check if the testosterone is artificially elevated because it is too high for the precursors in the bloodstream.

Subject: Caster Semenya (again)

Belz... 2nd May 2019 12:04 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Darat (Post 12682857)
That seems rather daft to me.

Which part of what I described is daft, and why?

The Atheist 2nd May 2019 12:27 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Rolfe (Post 12682540)
It's a real shame for Caster Semenya, but it was the right decision.

Very informative post, thanks.

JihadJane 2nd May 2019 12:34 PM

'Caster Semenya: No one wins' by intersex expert and commentator, Claire Graham, aka @MRKHVoice

Quote:

I’ve been asked to write something, in response to the Caster Semenya story, so here goes…My personal take is really summed up by the Brock Chisholm quote “No one wins a war. It is true, there are degrees of loss, but no one wins.” I’m going to try to explain why, with a potted history of Semenya’s case put into the wider political context in which it has occurred.

https://mirandayardley.com/en/caster...iwEjVAAReQoTPs

Arcade22 2nd May 2019 12:38 PM

I say let male and females (and anything in-between, or even beyond this scale) compete together in all sports. Why, if discrimination is something that's bad, should we be content with discriminating against people because of their sex at all?

ponderingturtle 2nd May 2019 12:38 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by The Atheist (Post 12682930)
Very informative post, thanks.

Except of course that it is all conjecture and assumes her medical condition with out any direct evidence. The only medical detail that has been disclosed and hence the only one being judged on is the level of a single hormone in her blood.

though of course there logic would also ban Michael Phelps for not producing enough lactic acid unless he takes drugs to correct that, to preserve the integrity of the sport.

d4m10n 2nd May 2019 01:06 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Meadmaker (Post 12682786)
But if you get rid of women's top level sport, you end up getting rid of girls' mid level sport.

It's not entirely obvious how this would follow. Generally there needs to be a large base of amateur players prior to the formation of a professional class of players. This happened with gridiron football early in the 20th century, rugby football much later.

It does occur to me that the top level sports are significantly better positioned to come up with scientifically grounded sex-segregation policies, though.

Ziggurat 2nd May 2019 01:34 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ponderingturtle (Post 12682945)
Except of course that it is all conjecture and assumes her medical condition with out any direct evidence.

The ruling specifies what medical conditions it applies to, doesn't it? Therefore isn't the ruling direct evidence of her medical condition?

Ziggurat 2nd May 2019 01:40 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Arcade22 (Post 12682944)
I say let male and females (and anything in-between, or even beyond this scale) compete together in all sports. Why, if discrimination is something that's bad, should we be content with discriminating against people because of their sex at all?

This position is internally consistent and based on clear principles. But the reason we don't do it is because most people don't actually share those principles. Most people think it's OK to discriminate between men and women, at least in certain ways, and separating women's sports from men's sports is consistent with accepted forms of discrimination.

The US Strength Lifting Federation has taken a slightly non-traditional approach: instead of having a men's division and a women's division, it has an open division and a women's division. Only biological females can enter the women's division. Anyone, not just men, can enter the open division.

Crawtator 2nd May 2019 02:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ziggurat (Post 12683004)
This position is internally consistent and based on clear principles. But the reason we don't do it is because most people don't actually share those principles. Most people think it's OK to discriminate between men and women, at least in certain ways, and separating women's sports from men's sports is consistent with accepted forms of discrimination.

The US Strength Lifting Federation has taken a slightly non-traditional approach: instead of having a men's division and a women's division, it has an open division and a women's division. Only biological females can enter the women's division. Anyone, not just men, can enter the open division.

Actually, isn't this the case in most professional sports? I know women could potentially play in the NBA and NFL if a team would choose to pick them, but due to disparities in talent caused by *gasp* SEX, this isn't happening. Seems like the sporting world has this issue mostly figured out.

Ziggurat 2nd May 2019 03:14 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Crawtator (Post 12683075)
Actually, isn't this the case in most professional sports? I know women could potentially play in the NBA and NFL if a team would choose to pick them, but due to disparities in talent caused by *gasp* SEX, this isn't happening. Seems like the sporting world has this issue mostly figured out.

There is no womenís division for the NFL, so thatís not really comparable to sports where there is. Not sure about NBA. But Iím pretty sure the Olympics doesnít allow women to compete in menís divisions.

Rolfe 2nd May 2019 03:15 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Darat (Post 12682883)
Am I being newsblinded, where was her genotype publicly revealed yesterday?


It's in the CAS report. 46XY. And since there's apparently no suggestion that her Y chromosome doesn't have a functional SRY gene, and her phenotypic appearance confirms she has a significant androgen response, that makes her biologically male.

There are two (main?) ways a 46XY genotype can produce a female foetus. One is CAIS, complete androgen insensitivity syndrome. Semenya quite obviously doesn't have that or she'd look like a black version of Hanne Gaby Odiele and lowering her testosterone wouldn't impact on her performance, which we know it does.

The other way is Swyer syndrome, where the Y chromosome does not have a functioning SRY gene. Again we know that Semenya doesn't have that because Swyer syndrome women also look like women and to be blunt, as The Athiest has already noted, Semenya looks like a man.

Nobody is disputing (or at least in my opinion nobody should dispute) that Semenya is legally and socially a woman, but she has a biologically male body.

Rolfe 2nd May 2019 03:17 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JihadJane (Post 12682940)
'Caster Semenya: No one wins' by intersex expert and commentator, Claire Graham, aka @MRKHVoice

https://mirandayardley.com/en/caster...iwEjVAAReQoTPs


Also note the first comment, by yours truly.

Rolfe 2nd May 2019 04:21 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Meadmaker (Post 12682479)
In the abstract, I agree with The Atheist's position that intersexed is a separate category, but in reality there are so very few people in that category that you can't do that.

It's a difficult situation to judge, to be sure. One thing that I am absolutely, 100% against is the position that the athletic governing body seems to be taking, which is, "We'll let you compete as a woman, but only if you take these drugs." That, to me, seems a very, very, bad idea.

So what's left? We either say, "You are a freak, and shouldn't be allowed to compete anywhere." or we let her compete as a woman.

And the actual decision in any individual case, like Semenya's, might depend on exactly what the gynecologist sees, but isn't going to tell anyone. I said it should depend on genitalia. Does she have a vagina, or does she have a very rare birth defect that didn't allow "his" junk to end up fully and normally formed?


This is so wrong in so many ways. First, as I said, intersex is an umbrella term for 40+ different conditions, not a category. Second, nearly all DSD people (the proper terminology) are unambiguously male or female in any case. Third, the minority who are ambiguous can be properly diagnosed by doing the right tests. Everybody is one or the other.

I actually agree that it's a bad idea to say, "we'll let you compete as a woman but only if you take these drugs," but you have to realise what you're saying. You're saying that biologically male people shouldn't be allowed to compete in women's events. No they shouldn't. But the trans lobby insists that they must be allowed, and since this has been conceded, it's necessary to mandate that drugs are taken. I think this is a horrendous decision, but there it is.

If it weren't the case that males are now allowed to compete in women's events, Caster Semenya would have been disqualified as soon as her genotype was known. But since they are allowed, with restrictions, she has to be allowed too. But she also has to be subject to the same restrictions, hence the drugs. You can't have it both ways.

Nobody is ever going to say to anyone, "you are a freak", so that's a straw man. As she is biologically male she would be entirely free to compete in the men's classes. The trouble is that her performance is poor for a man. If she'd been brought up as a boy (as might have happened if her family had had better access to healthcare when she was born) she would never have taken up athletics in the first place.

But you know, this situation happened sometimes, in the days when you had to be tested as genetically female in order to compete as a woman. A number of promising girls quietly retired about the time of puberty because it was realised they wouldn't qualify for the women's competitions. Nobody said "you are a freak" to them, though. Or I bloody well hope they didn't.

The decision doesn't depend on genitalia. I don't know if she has a vagina or not, although I suspect not. That's irrelevant. She has undescended testicles, but then CAIS women have abdominal testes too so that isn't the deal-breaker. She has a functioning SRY gene and significant androgen response. These are the criteria and by these criteria she's a male with a disadvantage, not a female with an advantage.

Rolfe 2nd May 2019 05:28 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ziggurat (Post 12637066)
There are limits to what you can do to force other people to treat you the way you want to be treated. If trans people can't be treated as the sex of their choice when it comes to sports, that may be unsatisfying for them, but overall, it's a perfectly acceptable outcome, and probably the best available one.


By the way, this.

The Atheist 2nd May 2019 05:54 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Rolfe (Post 12683156)
I don't know if she has a vagina or not, although I suspect not.

I'm going to say she probably has. Her father was interviewed early on in the whole saga, and his comment was simply that having changed her nappy lots of times, she was a girl.

Seemed like a reliable source.

Rolfe 2nd May 2019 05:58 PM

Nobody probes a little girl's genitals to see if she has a patent vagina or not. That's sick. We know that as a baby she appeared superficially to be a girl, or at least much more like a girl than a boy. That tells us nothing about internal genitalia though.

Just to clarify, in case there's any misunderstanding here. It is impossible to see a little girl's vagina when changing her nappy.

Meadmaker 2nd May 2019 07:20 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Rolfe (Post 12683233)
Nobody probes a little girl's genitals to see if she has a patent vagina or not. That's sick. We know that as a baby she appeared superficially to be a girl, or at least much more like a girl than a boy. That tells us nothing about internal genitalia though.

Just to clarify, in case there's any misunderstanding here. It is impossible to see a little girl's vagina when changing her nappy.

Terminology and all that. For some reason we say "vagina" to refer to all that girl stuff, despite the fact that the vagina is the part we can't see.




My take on this whole situation is based on my firm belief that the current trend to allow transgenders, i.e. people who grew up male, to compete as women is utterly daft, hormones or no hormones, surgery or no surgery. Once that happens, and it has in many places and many sports, then there's no way to make sense out of any policy, but at least the testosterone concentration test is consistent.

Rolfe 2nd May 2019 08:08 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Meadmaker (Post 12683280)
Terminology and all that. For some reason we say "vagina" to refer to all that girl stuff, despite the fact that the vagina is the part we can't see.


You may use words like that but I certainly don't. The claim was made earlier that someone who has a vagina is female. That in itself is not correct, and on top of that, we simply don't know if Caster Semenya was born with a vagina or not. There is a fairly high chance she wasn't.

If you're now going to move the goal-posts and say, well we didn't mean a vagina anyway, we meant something that kind of looked like a vulva, that's even less helpful. Even 5-alpha reductase deficiency boys have something that looks like a vulva when they're born, but they most certainly don't have a vagina and they grow up into more-or-less normal men.

The fact is that a baby born with an obvious penis, and by that I mean something the baby can pee out of, not an enlarged clitoris, is (almost?) certainly a boy. However a baby with nothing terribly obvious but some folds that might be a vulva isn't necessarily a girl in quite the same way. She's probably a girl because DSDs are fairly unusual in the grand scheme of things, but it's entirely possible for an essentially male infant with a DSD to look like a girl at birth.

The fact that Caster Semenya was "assigned female" when she was born really doesn't tell us anything in the light of what has transpired since.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Meadmaker (Post 12683280)
My take on this whole situation is based on my firm belief that the current trend to allow transgenders, i.e. people who grew up male, to compete as women is utterly daft, hormones or no hormones, surgery or no surgery. Once that happens, and it has in many places and many sports, then there's no way to make sense out of any policy, but at least the testosterone concentration test is consistent.


While I agree with you that allowing biological males who have gone through male puberty (and in a number of cases actually competed as males in male events) to compete in women's events is utterly insane, it's only of peripheral relevance to the Semenya issue.

Testosterone is by no means the only thing that gives males the edge that they have in athletics. They have larger hearts and larger lung capacity relative to their size. They have more fast twitch muscle fibres, they have proportionately longer legs and arms, and they have more favourable pelvic anatomy for running and cycling. (Also more favourable shoulder anatomy for throwing things.) There is also a muscle memory effect, so that someone who has trained for a sport as a male will retain this advantage even when testosterone concentrations are lower. For all these reasons, even if you could reduce testosterone right down to female levels, it would still be grossly unfair to let men compete in women's events.

One thing that underlines this is the position of CAIS women in athletics. If testosterone was the be-all and end-all, you'd think they'd be nowhere, because they have zero effective testosterone, less even than a normal woman. But when sex testing was first introduced into athletics it was found that CAIS women were disproportionately represented among elite athletes. The slightly virilised body shape, which is barely noticeable, seems to be enough to confer a slight edge.

However testosterone is indeed a major factor. Witness the huge effect it had when it was used by the East Germans as an anabolic steroid to catapult their women athletes to the top of the medals tables in the 1970s and 1980s. Witness the very significant effect in the opposite direction when a male athlete suppresses his testosterone concentration when "transitioning". (Same thing happened to Caster Semenya when she had to suppress her testosterone.)

Normal female testosterone concentrations are around 0.5 nmol/l and seldom go above 2 nmol/l. However when the athletics authorities decided to let men compete they set the upper limit at 10 nmol/l. This was done so as not to penalise women with unusually high testosterone concentrations, but in practice it allowed the men to maintain concentrations enormously greater than those the vast majority of female athletes have. It's a lousy decision.

The wrangling that followed that was predictable. Should women be allowed to dope up to the level that males are permitted to have? Um, no? So they decided to bring the limit down to 5 nmol/l. This is what caught Semenya, and she tried to get an exemption on the grounds of being actually female. Unfortunately for her she isn't female in that sense, so her case was rejected.

Now we're being told that a bona fide XX female athlete will not have to suppress her testosterone below 5 nmol/l. Is this fair? God alone knows. Normal females still aren't allowed to dope themselves up to 5 nmol/l though. And meanwhile the men carry right on with the advantages built up over many years of having high testosterone, while (certainly at one time) a woman would be banned for life if she had ever taken the stuff. In addition, due to the limits of the testing regimen, they can quite easily fail to suppress for much of the time as they train, and only take the anti-androgens when they need to, to pass the blood tests.

It's a complete mess. Oh, and did I forget that some of the anti-androgens, notably spironolactone, are banned substances in their own right, but somehow spironolactone has to be allowed for men who are competing as women, because they have to take it to get their testosterone down. And to cap it all, does anyone think it's good for a man's body to mess with his natural hormone balance like this. No it isn't, and they're storing up trouble for themselves later.

All this utter and complete shambolic mess, all because men who want to be treated as if they were women insist on competing in women's sports. Instead of looking at the situation and saying, sorry, this isn't possible, sports are segregated by the sex of the body not by the feelings in your head, the sporting authorities caved in like a sand-hole in a tsunami and said certainly, but we'll try to rein in your natural advantages just a little bit.

It has, arguably, benefited Caster Semenya. She fails the genetic/hormonal tests to be considered female-bodied, and 40 years ago there would have been no question of her being allowed to compete in women's events. However, since actual men are now allowed to compete, obviously she must be allowed under the same rules.

Nevertheless her challenge to these rules has thrown up another anomaly. Now it has been confirmed that while a male-bodied athlete must conform to the testosterone-lowering requirements (and this includes Semenya), a female-bodied athlete (e.g. with adrenal hyperplasia) does not. So we're back to having to make a clear distinction between the biological sexes again.

So although the trans minefield is only of peripheral relevance to the Semenya issue, it is the thing that has allowed her to compete in women's events, and she is the case that has highlighted the glaring anomalies even more clearly.

Now of course we have Rachel McKinnon insisting that natural testosterone doesn't confer an advantage, and it's unfair to make him lower his testosterone at all. He's a woman in his head and that's enough to make his whole body female, testicles and all, and he should be allowed to compete as a woman with all his womanly androgens in their natural state. (He's currently turning back-flips to try to say that although reducing natural testosterone confers a disadvantage, having it in the first place is not an advantage. I'm not sure what his PhD is in but it ain't logic.)

I think this entire circus is going to disappear up its own backside in the not too distant future, but not before it has messed with a lot of people's lives.

The Atheist 3rd May 2019 12:44 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Rolfe (Post 12683233)
It is impossible to see a little girl's vagina when changing her nappy.

How many daughters have you had? I ask, because that's so completely wrong it's at massive odds with your previous, informative posts.

Little girls defecate in their nappies, and when they get old enough to sit up, the faeces gets squashed into the vagina. Most sensible parents wipe it out with designated cloths.

I would have said it's impossible to change nappies and not see the vagina.

GlennB 3rd May 2019 01:06 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by The Atheist (Post 12683482)
How many daughters have you had? I ask, because that's so completely wrong it's at massive odds with your previous, informative posts.

Little girls defecate in their nappies, and when they get old enough to sit up, the faeces gets squashed into the vagina. Most sensible parents wipe it out with designated cloths.

I would have said it's impossible to change nappies and not see the vagina.

That isn't the vagina, it's the arrangement of labia that form the outer part of the vulva. Changing a baby girl's nappies should not get you involved with the vagina, which is internal.


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