View Poll Results: How should female athletes with high testosterone levels be treated?

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  • Leave them alone and let them get on with it

    32 55.17%
  • Make them take testosterone suppressants

    12 20.69%
  • Make them compete against men if they don't take suppressants

    3 5.17%
  • Create a women with high testosterone level competitive category

    11 18.97%
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  1. #1
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    Female athletes with high testosterone levels


    0 Not allowed!
    An International sports court today ruled that female athletes with high testosterone can be required to take suppressants.

    This follows the International Association of Athletics Federations track’s governing body's decision about high testosterone levels in female athletes. The IAAF said that women who have more than 5 nano-mols per liter of testosterone in their blood—like South African sprinter and Olympic gold medalist Caster Semenya—must either compete against men, or take medication to reduce their natural testosterone levels.*

    Is it fair to penalise women like this? To make them compete against men would mean they would be competing against men with higher testosterone levels than them which if course immediately puts them at an unfair disadvantage. In that scenario a case could be put forward to force the men who she is obliged to compete against to reduce their testosterone levels accordingly seeing as that is being proposed as the alternative option for women with high testosterone levels to remain competing in the female category.

    Another* option could be to have a third competitive category, "mens", "womens" and "womens with more than 5 nano-mols per litre of testosterone".

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    • #2
      Swam, cycled and ran once strings's Avatar
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      1 Not allowed!
      Quote Originally Posted by marlowe View Post
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      An International sports court today ruled that female athletes with high testosterone can be required to take suppressants.

      This follows the International Association of Athletics Federations track’s governing body's decision about high testosterone levels in female athletes. The IAAF said that women who have more than 5 nano-mols per liter of testosterone in their blood—like South African sprinter and Olympic gold medalist Caster Semenya—must either compete against men, or take medication to reduce their natural testosterone levels.*

      Is it fair to penalise women like this? To make them compete against men would mean they would be competing against men with higher testosterone levels than them which if course immediately puts them at an unfair disadvantage. In that scenario a case could be put forward to force the men who she is obliged to compete against to reduce their testosterone levels accordingly seeing as that is being proposed as the alternative option for women with high testosterone levels to remain competing in the female category.

      Another* option could be to have a third competitive category, "mens", "womens" and "womens with more than 5 nano-mols per litre of testosterone".
      Entirely unfair. Semenya is a woman genetically, why should they IAAF re-define what is male and female? If she has done something to increase the testosterone, this should be banned. But I don't see why athletes should be required to change something that is natural in them. Usain Bolt benefited from having massively long legs... should he have been required to undergo treatment to shorten his legs...? Of course not.

      I think (and hope) that the IAAF will come to regret this decision in future.
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    • #3
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      0 Not allowed!
      I don't begin to understand all of the issues at play here... but it is surely a very slippery slope... will we end up (rather like the paralympics) with categories for every genetic variation/anomalies/gifts like height, strength, webbed feet, etc...
    • #4
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      2 Not allowed!
      This is really tricky.

      Taking Semenya as the example she can't compete against men because their testosterone levels will be far higher so she would be disadvantaged.

      Women competing against her would be at a disadvantage as Semenya's testosterone level would be much higher.

      I suppose asking Semenya and others who have the same issue to reduce their testosterone is the only sensible option really so she is competing equally with other women. It wouldn't be at all practical to expect ALL male athletes to reduce their testosterone levels to that of Semenya's.

      Sad thing but if we want equality of competition, then the IAAF's solution seems to be the fairest.
    • #5
      A different kind of pasty pasty's Avatar
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      1 Not allowed!
      So they ban athletes for taking performance enhancing drugs, but are enforcing performance diminishing drugs?
      Last edited by pasty; 01-05-2019 at 16:13.
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    • #6
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      Quote Originally Posted by Titanic View Post
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      I don't begin to understand all of the issues at play here... but it is surely a very slippery slope... will we end up (rather like the paralympics) with categories for every genetic variation/anomalies/gifts like height, strength, webbed feet, etc...
      At least @Ernest nephew could get a medal.
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    • #7
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      3 Not allowed!
      Quote Originally Posted by rippleman View Post
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      Women competing against her would be at a disadvantage as Semenya's testosterone level would be much higher.
      A disadvantage yes, but not a morally unfair one. That's like saying Brighton are at a disadvantage when playing against Man City, because Man City's players are better. Yes they are. Should they be penalised for having better players? Obviously not.

      Otherwise we need to also ban all athletes with naturally longer legs. Utterly ludicrous.
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    • #8
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      2 Not allowed!
      By a similar token testosterone levels must vary within men as well. Will men outside an acceptable range also have an unfair advantage?
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    • #9
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      5 Not allowed!
      Surely elite sports is all about individuals that are born with unfair genetic advantages. I don't see why this particular one should be penalised.
    • #10
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      2 Not allowed!
      I think it is fairer to have females with high testosterone levels compete than to have gender reassigned females (ex-men) compete (as is allowed in some sports now - cycling for example)

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