OK I don't really know where to put this but as I'm coming at this from a sporting perspective I've gone for pro cycling even though it's not primarily about cycling either. It is though extremely thought provoking about all womens' sport including cycling. The other thing to say is I don't yet fully grasp all of the issues, so if my terminology seems clumsy, that's why. What brought it to my attention was the women's 800m in Rio and the picture of Semenya reaching out but being ignored by Bishop and Sharp. I know the controversy surrounding Semenya but I didn't know all of it and I thought, well Sharp finished 6th so 5th if Semenya was excluded as she once effectively was under IAAF intersex rules and treatment. And then I looked at the other podium finishers and I began to see just how deep this issue ran, as both are also rumoured to be intersex. Rumour is something that is currently part and parcel of the intersex issue because no current boundaries of female gender exist. Defining a gender boundary is not so simple as saying xx=women, xy=man. This, by the way, excludes how someone might identify, which is a whole different issue and here I mean gender category for the purposes of competing in sport. So how can it not be simple. Well the issue isn't new for a start nor is it straightforward. This BBC article gives a pretty good overview of both the current situation as to why Semenya is now competing freely again and the history of sport and gender (Another view from a slightly more inflammatory source is here). There are a couple of things worth noting in the BBC article, one is the testosterone cut off and how in athletes there is a wide overlap of testosterone in male and female athletes which we don't see in the normal population, two is that in 2013, female athletes from developing countries have already had extensive genital surgery and how the governing bodies and the IAAF had, until the Chand case, normalised the idea that such surgery and drug treatments should even be considered as ethical, by enforcing a cut-off limit for testosterone which has now been argued to be arbitrary and unethical (see the Chand CAS ruling). Hand in hand with this is the way the women concerned have been exposed and vilified, sometimes reading about governing bodies concerns in the papers before any official contact. Naturally they've found their life in tatters with a few attempting suicide. So a divide exists where intersex athletes and their supporters argue that what nature has given them is no different from someone having a high VO2 max or long legs or big lungs or better oxygenation and those who wish to protect the gender boundaries of sport. There is little doubt of the effects of Testosterone where it is effective, as it isn't always in intersex athletes (see María José Martínez-Patiño case), measured in runners as about a 12% difference between the sexes, touched on in the BBC article and in greater depth by Joanna Harper and seen in Semeneya's times when she was taking drugs to suppress her testosterone levels compared to when she wasn't. I'm not generally a fan of Ross Tucker but this interview between Tucker and Joanna Harper, mentioned further up, is a long and worthy read covering most of the relevant issues. So I find myself slightly shocked at the extent of this issue which I had not previously appreciated and just how much of an effect it has on women's sport and at the same time I don't see an easy answer. For my own part I think it's important to protect the gender boundaries for all, including intersex because as Harper put it, If we value women’s equality, it is imperative that we protect the ability of all women to succeed in sports. At the same time though, how can you impose a definition on what constitutes a gender boundary. Well the IAAF has got two years to come up with that one and how to then manage it and right now there's no real agreement how.