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South African athlete Caster Semeya (left) and his wife. Photo supplied

Transgenders outshine girls in track championships

Black transgender sprinters finished first and second at a recent girls’ high school track championship in Connecticut.

Published: February 26, 2019, 7:57 am

    Terry Miller and Andraya Yearwood dominated their female competitors in the 55-meter dash, with Miller finishing in a time of 6.95 seconds, setting a new state indoor record.

    Miller and Yearwood have been at the center of the controversy regarding biological males competing in female sports. Both are reportedly undergoing hormone therapy.

    But female athletes competing against transgenders have suffered due to the unfair circumstances.

    At least one female competitor, Selina Soule, would likely have qualified for New England regional events had she finished in sixth place – instead of eighth, behind Miller and Yearwood.

    “We all know the outcome of the race before it even starts; it’s demoralizing,” she told the Washington Times. “I fully support and am happy for these athletes for being true to themselves. They should have the right to express themselves in school, but athletics have always had extra rules to keep the competition fair.”

    Distrought parents are meanwhile petitioning for changes that would establish hormone standards or other methods to eliminate unfair advantages.

    Tennis legend Martina Navratilova has waded into the debate in sport saying that biological males competing in women’s sports is “insane and it’s cheating”. The issue of sexual classification in sport has indeed become an international dilemma.

    Olympic medalist Caster Semenya’s case is currently the high-profile South African athlete that the Council for Arbitration in Sport (CAS) has had to consider for differences of sex in sports and the South African Department of Sport and Recreation has wagered a massive R25-million on this case hoping to advance “gender rights” and “non-racialism”.

    One view is that Semenya’s testosterone discrepancy and resultant advantage are “natural” and therefore “she” should be allowed to compete. But Semeya lives as a man and is married to a woman. Clearly Semenya’s physical abnormalities have cast genuine doubts on the specificity of “her” gender.

    After testing in 2009, Semenya was classified as a hermaphrodite by virtue of him/her having elements of both the male and female sex organs. Interestingly, some fifty years ago, Olympic official Norman Cox noted that there should be a separate category for black female athletes who are “unfairly advantaged hermaphrodites”.

    The CAS will deliberate on the proposed IAAF policy titled Eligibility regulations for the female classification, focusing on female testosterone (fT) levels. The IAAF believes that raised testosterone levels grant female athletes with elevated fT a physiological and performance advantage.

    A paper published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine compared athletes with high T to low T, and an advantage was shown in the 400m, 400m hurdles, 800m, hammer throw, and pole vault.

    The IAAF policy is based on population norms where male and female levels of testosterone do not overlap. The statistically normal range of testosterone in females is 0.1 – 2 nmol/l, while in males it is between 7.7 and 30 nmol/l.

    Thus testosterone is considered the major differentiator in sports performance between the two sexes, with male performances exceeding female performances by up to 15 percent. Evidence from East German datasets of state-sponsored doping in the 1970s already revealed a significant benefit of administered testosterone to females.

    The IAAF has since responded to a news report in The Times of London stating that “DSD athletes” are classified as male.

    “The IAAF is not classifying any DSD (Differences of Sexual Development) athlete as male. To the contrary, we accept their legal sex without question, and permit them to compete in the female category. However if a DSD athlete has testes and male levels of testosterone, they get the same increases in bone and muscle size and strength and increases in haemoglobin that a male gets when they go through puberty, which is what gives men such a performance advantage over women. Therefore, to preserve fair competition in the female category, it is necessary to require DSD athletes to reduce their testosterone down to female levels before they compete at international level.”

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