Intersex athletes in Women's sport

Discussion in 'Pro Cycling (Road and Track Racing)' started by Crackle, 23 Aug 2016.

  1. OP

    Crackle Pah

    I was kind of hoping somebody would pick up on this. I've asserted it twice after quoting what Harper said and I took it to mean that role models in sport are one of the things that drive us to our own personal sporting achievements. Our role models don't necessarily have to win, it's often more complex than that, how they conduct themselves, the hurdles they've overcome etc... So in that sense they reflect society. Our role models have come from the same place as us but at the same time our identification with them is based on societal norms. If we see those norms being challenged, our role models competing against odds that are stacked against them our sense of outrage, fair play and our standards are challenged, we react to this as sport suddenly does not reflect our society.

    That is what I meant and if it sounds muddy it's because it is, I'm still exploring what effect Intersex athletes really have, not on sport but on us, on society and ultimately I think that's what it's about to most people who don't have their fingers in the sporting till or a hand on the rudder of the IAAF who's motivations, as already said, might be entirely different in this.

    As an aside, I think Elite sport as a sportsperson is ruthless in a way that perhaps society is not. Or perhaps it still is, that's an entirely different thought line.
  2. Bollo

    Bollo Failed Tech Bro

    On the subject of arbitrary boundaries, it's something that's largely accepted for para-athletes as they compete in categories that attempt to equalise the impact of their disability. I'm sure there are plenty of edge cases where an athlete's competitiveness would depend on the judgement of a panel as much as their natural ability.

    I don't think the idea translates easily though as the pool of intersex athletes (judged by whatever criteria?!) would still be relatively small, even before you overcome all the cultural/marketability/money issues.

    Interesting thread.
    swansonj and Crackle like this.
  3. Buddfox

    Buddfox Über Member

    And Caster Semenya as a role model is one of the reasons why I support her right to compete. I can't even imagine the challenges she has faced just to get on the start line, let alone to deal with questions over her sex etc.
  4. OP

    Crackle Pah

    I had paralympics in mind as an example of how to decide sub-divisions but I can't see how it would work when applied to able bodied athletes and it's probably a can of worms you don't want to open.
    Bollo likes this.
  5. Darren Gregory

    Darren Gregory Rides a Pinnacle Arkose 3 and a Trek Emonda SL6

    Just finished reading this thread after wandering upon it while browsing. Fascinating subject.

    I saw Semanya race during the olympics (on the telly I might add, not fortunate enought to go in person!) but I have to say it was the first time I can recal hearing about her. I am however aware of the existence of intersex condition but certainly no expert.

    I cannot say I have an answer to the many questions raised, it certainly is a complicated issue. As others have said if you start punishing someone or limiting someone like Semenya for having a genetic condition where do you draw the line? Yes many atheletes may win or be succesful for non genetic reasons, training, equipment etc but as stated earlier are we going to ban Phelps because his feet are too big?

    Going back to the Olypics and the Semenya race that I saw which I think someone posted an image of earlier I couldn't help but be impressed with Semenya's attitude immediately after the race, she came across as very humble, at least certainly the footage I saw.

    Finally I think that unlike some threads on this and other forums those posting have been incredibly well behaved dicussing a complicated and potentially infalmatory subject.
    coffeejo likes this.
  6. fimm

    fimm Veteran

    I do realise that Semenya is not transgender. However I think that Harper's experience of having her own running times fall off by 12% once she started taking medication to reduce her testosterone (something repeated in a study she did of other male to female transgender athletes) is relevant; and I think her views on the situation have more merits than mine.
  7. OP

    Crackle Pah

    It's easy to forget, when you talk about the advantages of excess testosterone, that that alone won't get you to Olympic athlete level. it's also easy to forget the context when athletes don't come from the same society you mix in and the challenges that that brings.

    I read a couple of reactions from S. Africans who see nothing wrong with Semenya competing and are quite aggrieved at the furore surrounding their athlete which brings us back to what was stated earlier about this being a white Western male issue of control and power.
    Buddfox likes this.
  8. dellzeqq

    dellzeqq pre-talced and mighty

    well said, but I would amend it slightly to 'sport should reflect society at its best'. And that means not excluding those who don't conform to a type.
  9. coffeejo

    coffeejo Ælfrēd

    West Somerset
    This is one of the reasons I like the Olympics and Paralympics as they do at least try to bring this sentiment to life. The Refugees' Team springs to mind as an example.
    summerdays likes this.
  10. snorri

    snorri Legendary Member

    Came across this cartoon this morning and couldn't quite translate it with the help of my Dutch/English dictionary.[​IMG] A friend in the Netherlands tells me the picture is of a man consulting his sex-change surgeon. He asks "And you do sex change operations that allow me to retain my car parking ability?
  11. OP

    Crackle Pah

    Wow snorri. That's pretty right field for this thread. I'm only going to let you get away with that because you're a Legendary member.
  12. snorri

    snorri Legendary Member

    Woops! I thought it was a humorous take on male insecurity in these changing times, but please delete if you feel it is likely to cause offence.
  13. Fab Foodie

    Fab Foodie hanging-on in quiet desperation ...

    Judging by the amount of used condoms around the Olympic village after 2012 I'd suggest most athletes are intersex ....
    swansonj and Bollo like this.
  14. OP

    Crackle Pah

  15. summerdays

    summerdays Cycling in the sun Moderator

    Mod note: It's a difficult thread to place but I think it fits into Pro-cycling best as it about competitive sport.
    Crackle, Buddfox, coffeejo and 2 others like this.
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