Microkhan by Brendan I. Koerner

“The Requirements to Compete as a Woman”

August 19th, 2009 · 4 Comments

In reading this quickie AP bit about a female runner whose gender is in question, we were left wondering about the shades of sexual grey that the International Association of Athletic Federations must contend with in the age of hormones. A quick peek in the pants, alas, is no longer sufficient to determine whether a male is masquerading as a female—in fact, that’s not even really the issue anymore. Rather, it’s more about athletes who are born in the gender interzone, and elect to use either surgery or drugs to shade more toward one side than the other. How does the IAAF grapple with such quandaries? Here’s what they’ve got to go on (PDF). Given these permissive guidelines, we have to like Caster Semenya‘s odds of continuing to compete as a woman.

Plenty more here on the history of the Olympics gender issues. It all began, of course, with the late, great Stanisława Walasiewicz.


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4 Comments so far ↓

  • Captured Shadow

    Are there no sports where being a woman might be a competitive advantage over being a man? Equestrian events maybe, or long distance swimming?

  • Brendan I. Koerner

    Great question. I’m thinking of looking at current track & field WRs and figuring out which event has the narrowest performance margin. Maybe soon…

    Damn, really need to get a preview button here in comments…and maybe a reply option, too.

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  • Katherine

    Time to face the music armed with this great ionfratmion.