All the boldface is my own.
The first evidence of this new policy in action was published last year in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism. Four female athletes, ages 18 to 21, all from developing countries, were investigated for high testosterone. Three were identified as having atypically high testosterone after undergoing universal doping tests. (They were not suspected of doping: Tests clearly distinguish between doping and naturally occurring testosterone.)
Sports officials (the report does not identify their governing-body affiliation) sent the young women to a medical center in France, where they were put through examinations that included blood tests, genital inspections, magnetic resonance imaging, X-rays and psychosexual history — many of the same invasive procedures Ms. Semenya endured. Since the athletes were all born as girls but also had internal testes that produce unusually high levels of testosterone for a woman, doctors proposed removing the women’s gonads and partially removing their clitorises. All four agreed to undergo both procedures; a year later, they were allowed to return to competition.
The doctors who performed the surgeries and wrote the report acknowledged that there was no medical reason for the procedures. Quite simply, these young female athletes were required to have drastic, unnecessary and irreversible medical interventions if they wished to continue in their sports.
I’m angry, frustrated, and even a little surprised. At this level of things, they couldn’t find anyone who knew anything about the relationship between T and clitorises? How does a large clitoris have anything to do with competitiveness?
As a friend just asked, are they seriously saying that having a larger clitoris makes women run faster? People use it to steer or catch the wind? What?
Canada’s Olympics ad points out the obvious:
8/20 UPDATE: “The storm of emotions going through us was incredible. And if we, accidentally, while congratulating each other, touched lips, excuse me. We think the whole fuss is more of a sick fantasy not grounded in anything.”
— Russian sprinter Kseniya Ryzhova, adamantly denying that the headline-grabbing kiss she shared with another female runner on the medal stand at the world championships in Moscow was a protest against Russia’s draconian anti-gay law.
(Kseniya Ryzhova and Tatyana Firova were two of the Russian team who won the 4x400m relay in Moscow. When on the podium receiving
their medals they kissed, on the lips. It is assumed this is a protest against the recently passed anti gay laws.)
Stella Walsh, Intersex Olympian
It’s an interesting clip, but this story by Matt Tullis – the story of the intersex Olympian – is ever better, detailing, sympathetically, some of what she and her fans experienced as a result of her autopsy and revelation.
Stella Walsh (trailer) from Steve Felix on Vimeo.
Sports + Outness
There have been some interesting articles turning up some interesting facts in light of Jason Collins coming out.
For starters, he wasn’t the first. Glenn Burke was:
Burke made no secret of his sexual orientation to the Dodgers front office, his teammates, or friends in either league. He also talked freely with sportswriters, though all of them ended up shaking their heads and telling him they couldn’t write that in their papers. Burke was so open about his sexuality that the Dodgers tried to talk him into participating in a sham marriage. (He wrote in his autobiography that the team offered him $75,000 to go along with the ruse.) He refused. In a bit of irony that would seem farcical if it wasn’t so tragic, one of the Dodgers who tried to talk Burke into getting “married,” was his manager, Tommy Lasorda, whose son Tom Jr. died from AIDS complications in 1991. To this day, Lasorda Sr. refuses to acknowledge his son’s homosexuality.
And then this one, about Vince Lombardi:
“My father was way ahead of his time,” Susan Lombardi said. “He was discriminated against as a dark-skinned Italian American when he was younger, when he felt he was passed up for coaching jobs that he deserved. He felt the pain of discrimination, and so he raised his family to accept everybody, no matter what color they were or whatever their sexual orientation was.
Now *there’s* an argument for why I should be a Packers fan – if there is one. (Which there isn’t. But still, this one’s better than any. No one told me the famous Packers coach was born in Brooklyn, either. He was only about 15 years older than my dad, and got his start in the NFL working for the Giants.)
I love the way one person comes out and the whole thing pretty much implodes. It’s really, really great to see this happening in professional sports.
Of course the ladies – Billie Jean King and Martina Navratilova – both came out in 1981.
(Sadly, in the meanwhile, LGBTQ allies Kluwe and Ayanbadejo have been sacked. So much for the NFL.)
CA College Sports
California has just made it possible for trans college students to play as the gender they are instead of as the gender they were declared at birth.
It’s a good move, although it’s bound to come with complications.
First Out in Major Sports
It shouldn’t be a big deal, but it is, because the machismo of professional sports keeps so many of these guys in the closet. Not anymore: Jason Collins of the Washington Wizards just came out, and I expect a lot more will follow.
Glad someone took the first leap.
Collins says he didn’t set out to be the first out gay athlete playing in a major team sport, “but since I am, I’m happy to start the conversation. I wish I wasn’t the kid in the classroom raising his hand and saying, ‘I’m different.’ If I had my way, someone else would have already done this. Nobody has, which is why I’m raising my hand.”
Interestingly, he was motivated to come out due to the Boston bombing: life is short.
The Onion Wins Again
The Onion has saved me from having to say: fuck CNN & their coverage of the Steubenville verdict. (But do sign the petition, which has now collected 200k signatures, and which demands an apology for their rapist-sympathetic coverage.)
College Basketball Star Heroically Overcomes Tragic Rape He Committed
Just fuck the idiots who treat athletes as if they don’t have to be civilized. I hate the sports cult bullshit, hate it.
(That said, these two NFL guys spoke at the GLAAD awards about being allies to the LGBTQ communities, and I was impressed. My wife had a nice chat with Kluwe, too. More of this, please.)
Int’l Olympics Sets Sex Policy
Wow, this is huge news. Since Caster Semenya’s case first hit the headlines – which it never should have done for the sake of her privacy – there’s been a lot of speculation about women and competition.
That is, there wasn’t just a desire to define “woman” – since most experts know that’s impossible. (Trust me.) But the Olympics Committee instead are trying to define “woman athlete” or what might give a woman an “unfair” competitive edge against other women, and they’ve just decided how it’s going to be.
First, here’s what they came up with:
- Under the new policy, an investigation into the possibility that an athlete has hyperandrogenism can be requested by an athlete concerned about her own condition; a medical official for a country’s Olympic committee; a member of the I.O.C. Medical Commission or a member of the Olympic organizing committee’s medical commission; or the chairman of the I.O.C. Medical Commission.
- If the chairman decides to conduct an investigation, relevant documents like medical records will be gathered. If further investigation is needed, a panel of one gynecologist, one genetic expert and one endocrinologist will try to determine whether hyperandrogenism is present and if it offers a competitive advantage.
- If need be, the athlete and her international federation can appeal the decision within 21 days to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. She can also compete in men’s events if she qualifies.
- The guidelines do not address whether a woman found to have hyperandrogenism could undergo a treatment to make her eligible to compete as a woman.
So, point by point:
- Any female athlete can request another athlete’s sex and gender tests. No potential for bullying or gender baiting or witch hunting or policing of gender there. *sigh* What a nightmare: women judging other women’s “acceptable” level of womanness.
- There’s no distinction being made between people who take androgens and people whose bodies produce them.
- I have to say, I love the idea of women being able to compete in men’s events if they want to. That fucking rocks. & Just lit a nice green light for trans guys, too.
- Could undergo could mean: be encouraged to, be bullied into, willingly choose, feel required to. Problematic, but when it comes to many other decisions about gender, it can be hard to judge whether a person is choosing freely or making a coerced decision. This one will be no different.
I first thought that their decision to use T levels at the determining factor was a good idea. I still think it is. BUT: