IAAF regulations for female athletes

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IAAF regulations for female athletes

#1  Postby TMB » Nov 04, 2018 11:39 pm

The attached ref are the published regulations of eligibility for female athletes in specified track events based upon their naturally occurring testosterone levels. Following the very public debates with Castor Semenya , her banning, medications and finally her return to medal winning form, has spawned plenty of articles about the rights and wrongs of how this should play out. My readings across this is that the fundamental segregation between men and women confers advantages on women based upon gender and these arise from this.
https://www.iaaf.org/news/press-release ... sification
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Re: IAAF regulations for female athletes

#2  Postby I'm With Stupid » Nov 05, 2018 4:17 am

There was a spat on Twitter recently about a female cyclist complaining about losing to a transgender woman. To be fair, looking at the difference in body type, she had a point. It's not an easy discussion, and unfortunately certain groups have already decided that they've won the debate and anyone questioning them must be some sort of anti-transgender bigot.

But ultimately, we have separate men and women's categories in sport to allow women to compete and hopefully make a career in sport. If transgender women can come and use their naturally male physique to out-compete them, then it makes a mockery of the whole categorization in the first place. Obviously it's up to individual sports to determine the extent of the advantage, if any, and react accordingly. It may be the case that gender by itself is too crude a categorization tool.

But if you think that having separate categories for women is a problem, then you also have to concede that Floyd Mayweather Jr isn't actually a great boxer as his entire career is based around him being given the 'advantage' of only having to fight men that are around the same weight as him. The same would apply to any weightlifter, wrestler or martial artist.
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Re: IAAF regulations for female athletes

#3  Postby TMB » Nov 05, 2018 6:35 am

I'm With Stupid wrote:There was a spat on Twitter recently about a female cyclist complaining about losing to a transgender woman. To be fair, looking at the difference in body type, she had a point. It's not an easy discussion, and unfortunately certain groups have already decided that they've won the debate and anyone questioning them must be some sort of anti-transgender bigot.


As I noted, none of this would be an issue if sex segregation was abolished and people were just regarded as athletes competing in a sport to achieve excellence, and not as athletes of one sex or another. There are multiple age categories, as well as categories for disabled athletes who are also protected, but unless the audience gates demand it, they get less monetary reward and status than open, able athletes. Currently, athletes simply need to assert that they identify as women and compete on that basis, except now the testosterone level will limit this, yet that have not applied it to some of the field events where high testosterone levels will give an advantage.

I'm With Stupid wrote:But ultimately, we have separate men and women's categories in sport to allow women to compete and hopefully make a career in sport. If transgender women can come and use their naturally male physique to out-compete them, then it makes a mockery of the whole categorization in the first place. Obviously it's up to individual sports to determine the extent of the advantage, if any, and react accordingly. It may be the case that gender by itself is too crude a categorization tool.

The idea that women should be offered a protected category to do this makes a mockery of equal rights. If competitive sport is to be based upon excellence and rewarded as such, the fact that women winning tennis grand slams get paid the same as men for lesser performance and lesser gates, should be questioned. Studies around two aspects of sexism, hostile and benevolent, note that “While benevolent sexism may not appear to be harmful to women on the surface, these beliefs are extremely caustic to gender equity and restrict women's personal, professional, political, and social opportunities. This is because these seemingly positive evaluations imply that (a) women are weak and need to be protected.” They note that the idea that women need to be protected just because they are women is an issue. The challenge would be women benefitting from this protection being willing to give it up to support an equity ideology.

Transgender athletes are also affected by the testosterone rules (at least men transitioning to women are = transwomen), however athletes who identify as women who are genetically male, have undeveloped testes etc, are likely to present with higher testosterone levels. Transwomen will be actively trying to lower their testosterone anyway as part of their transition.

I'm With Stupid wrote:But if you think that having separate categories for women is a problem, then you also have to concede that Floyd Mayweather Jr isn't actually a great boxer as his entire career is based around him being given the 'advantage' of only having to fight men that are around the same weight as him. The same would apply to any weightlifter, wrestler or martial artist.


Then the question is – weight categories are consciously imposed and accepted across certain sport types, what is the basis to do so, and why are these then applicable to divide sport along gender lines? Note that initially boxing did not have weight categories, neither did the UFC when it first came I, Royce Gracie at 180lbs beat opponents up to 280lbs. Striking martial arts like Shotokan karate places less emphasis on weight categories that ju jitsu that are closer quarter. The difference is that weight categories does not diminish the ability and expertise of the competitors. Since audience judgement plays a big role in how sports are run, Sugar Ray Leonard expertise did not mean he could beat a heavyweight, but his boxing skills might equal or better them. The same is not true when splitting by gender, women basketballers cannot perform to the same quality as male basketballers, regardless of things like strength or speed that are usually considered the only reasons to split the genders. Tennis is not a game of strength, Roger Federer is probably the best tennis player of all time, won a grand slam at 37 years old. He is not the strongest or fastest player in the mens circuit, he is simply the best tennis player for multiple reasons. Strength and speed partly explain why men are better than women, but they are not the only factors.
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Re: IAAF regulations for female athletes

#4  Postby Rumraket » Feb 25, 2019 12:37 am

Why not have four categories, instead of just female and male?

Make a category for males-having-transitioned-to-females to compete in, and a category for females-having-transitioned-to-male.

Women, men, trans men, and trans women.

Done.
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Re: IAAF regulations for female athletes

#5  Postby laklak » Feb 25, 2019 1:03 am

Why only four? What about furries? Otherkin? Elves?
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Re: IAAF regulations for female athletes

#6  Postby zulumoose » Feb 25, 2019 7:27 am

Castor is not transgender, BTW, at least not in the sense that she is or has been in transition form male to female or vice versa. Transgender is only one of the many ways of making this supposedly simple issue very complex.

I can't imagine that there will ever be an end to male/female separation in sports that are centred around muscle speed or strength, otherwise female participation would likely be a rarity in many of them, and it would be considered by the vast majority as a step backwards in terms of equality rather than a step forwards.

To anyone arguing that in cases like Castor there should be no limits on someone born female, my response would be to ask whether it is desirable to set up a situation where the only winners in a female sport would be the ones who have a clinical condition that gives them strong male characteristics? Perhaps that is already the case in something like weightlifting?
That seems to me at least as unfair towards the development of female sports as any ruling on limits might be.


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Re: IAAF regulations for female athletes

#7  Postby Scot Dutchy » Feb 25, 2019 1:03 pm

How about cases of inter-sex?
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Re: IAAF regulations for female athletes

#8  Postby zulumoose » Feb 25, 2019 1:31 pm

Scot Dutchy wrote:How about cases of inter-sex?


I think that's where Castor is. I haven't been following closely, but as far as I understand she may be one of those cases where there is a mix of male and female organs, such as vagina, but no ovaries, and possibly internal testes instead.

She certainly does have every appearance of a male physique (barring genitalia), has a very deep masculine voice, and (although this is not really relevant) married a woman. I remember very clearly when the controversy first hit, women in my office were almost offended by the issue, and were scathingly vocal against her critics, until they saw this picture (or one very similar) and suddenly they changed their tune, there were cries of "that can't be her, that's a MAN!":-

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Re: IAAF regulations for female athletes

#9  Postby laklak » Feb 25, 2019 2:12 pm

People over 7 feet tall have an unfair advantage in basketball. We should amputate their feet, make it more competitive.
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Re: IAAF regulations for female athletes

#10  Postby Scot Dutchy » Feb 25, 2019 3:19 pm

Rugby players of over 200 kgs who can run 100 mtrs in 10 secs should be banned.

The simple case where do you draw the line? Not by sex that is for sure.
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Re: IAAF regulations for female athletes

#11  Postby I'm With Stupid » Feb 25, 2019 3:31 pm

I mean yeah, basically anyone at the elite level of any sport that's mainly physical is going to have an unfair genetic advantage over the rest. Obviously in some sports, weight categories are introduced to give more people the opportunity. Let's be honest, all but the heaviest weightlifters would be out of a job if they got rid of the weight categories. But fundamentally, there's no reason why weightlifting should be split by weight, but sprinting shouldn't, for example.

When it comes to transgender athletes, it a difficult area, but I have to say that ultimately the gender identity of the athlete (i.e. the gender of their brain) shouldn't be the main factor. Women have their own sport because of physical differences not because of differences in identity. Therefore the considerations as to whether someone is allowed to compete as a woman should be biological. Personally, I'm not sure how that works. If someone transitions from male to female, I know they can have hormone therapy and this will change things like the amount of testosterone in the body. However, I wonder whether the fact that someone's body has grown and developed as male, basically creating bigger and more powerful muscles is counteracted by a few years of hormone therapy. Certainly when you look at someone like Rachel McKinnon, her body is so much bigger than the women she's competing against. But cycling does have specific rules to reflect this, and she won following the rules, (which is more than you can say for most cyclists in the last 30 years).

There was a similar debate when Oscar Pistorius was competing in the able-bodied sprinting that his legs actually provide more spring with less energy put in than a real leg. But there was also the argument that it makes his start more difficult, so it's always going to be difficult to make things fair when people with differing physical attributes are competing.

But ultimately, if you're going to argue against the idea of people being given their own categories on gender, weight or whatever else, you're basically arguing for the abolition of women's elite sport, because in almost all sports, the best women would not be able to compete against the best men. If you accept that women should have their own categories in sport, you have to also accept that there need to be biological standards that determine what constitutes a woman for the purposes of the competition.
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Re: IAAF regulations for female athletes

#12  Postby Sendraks » Feb 25, 2019 7:46 pm

I'm With Stupid wrote: However, I wonder whether the fact that someone's body has grown and developed as male, basically creating bigger and more powerful muscles is counteracted by a few years of hormone therapy.


It can be. The therapy is pretty aggressive stuff but, the extent of the effects varies from individual to individual.
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Re: IAAF regulations for female athletes

#13  Postby Rumraket » Feb 26, 2019 12:42 am

I'm With Stupid wrote: However, I wonder whether the fact that someone's body has grown and developed as male, basically creating bigger and more powerful muscles is counteracted by a few years of hormone therapy.

We don't have to wonder all that much. At the current state of medical science, it clearly isn't counteracted by it. Formerly male women consistently perform at the highest levels in performance sports.

I don't see why we can't have at least three categories. I'm serious about it, not being glib. We don't have to start making categories for furries and attack helicopters, but I don't see why we can't actually have categories for trans people.

Male, female, trans. If some time in the future medical technology advances to a state where trans people's former biology no longer influences their athletic performance then that could serve as basis for reevaluation.

But in the current state it's just not fair to have formerly male trans women compete as women.
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Re: IAAF regulations for female athletes

#14  Postby Thommo » Feb 26, 2019 2:49 am

Rumraket wrote:I don't see why we can't have at least three categories. I'm serious about it, not being glib. We don't have to start making categories for furries and attack helicopters, but I don't see why we can't actually have categories for trans people.

Male, female, trans. If some time in the future medical technology advances to a state where trans people's former biology no longer influences their athletic performance then that could serve as basis for reevaluation.


I have a lot of intuitive sympathy with what you've said, but the bigger issue, as with Caster Semenya is people who are either intersex or have atypical production of androgens for their sex, rather than being trans.

Assuming you're really meaning a single category for those people as well as for trans people, that could work, although I'm sure there will be a number of objections, some of which fair and some of which self-interested, relating to the prestige, financial reward and possible exclusion of already marginalised groups from mainstream events.

I would be cautiously optimistic that the public would be welcoming of new events, with the rise in prominence, funding and broadcast rights for previously ignored sports like women's cricket and events like the paralympics or Invictus games.
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Re: IAAF regulations for female athletes

#15  Postby I'm With Stupid » Feb 26, 2019 2:57 am

Rumraket wrote:We don't have to wonder all that much. At the current state of medical science, it clearly isn't counteracted by it. Formerly male women consistently perform at the highest levels in performance sports.

Like who?

Rumraket wrote:I don't see why we can't have at least three categories. I'm serious about it, not being glib. We don't have to start making categories for furries and attack helicopters, but I don't see why we can't actually have categories for trans people.

Male, female, trans. If some time in the future medical technology advances to a state where trans people's former biology no longer influences their athletic performance then that could serve as basis for reevaluation.

But in the current state it's just not fair to have formerly male trans women compete as women.

The obvious problem with that is that there are so few MTF trans athletes that to find enough people to get a proper competition going is basically impossible. It's bad enough with individual sports. Imagine trying to get a football team together. It's like in the Paralympics where you get people with different disabilities and they have to make a judgement about how disabled people are while at the same time not splitting them up so much that you can't get eight people for a race.
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Re: IAAF regulations for female athletes

#16  Postby Thommo » Feb 26, 2019 3:03 am

I'm With Stupid wrote:The obvious problem with that is that there are so few MTF trans athletes that to find enough people to get a proper competition going is basically impossible. It's bad enough with individual sports. Imagine trying to get a football team together. It's like in the Paralympics where you get people with different disabilities and they have to make a judgement about how disabled people are while at the same time not splitting them up so much that you can't get eight people for a race.


Perhaps the rules for elite sport don't need to be identical to those at lower levels?

I couldn't honestly say off the top of my head whether the percentage of the population with some kind of physical restriction that would qualify them for the paralympics would be vastly different to the percentage of the population who might be intersex identifying as female or male to female trans. It seems possible they are at least comparable.
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Re: IAAF regulations for female athletes

#17  Postby I'm With Stupid » Feb 26, 2019 3:46 am

Thommo wrote:
I'm With Stupid wrote:The obvious problem with that is that there are so few MTF trans athletes that to find enough people to get a proper competition going is basically impossible. It's bad enough with individual sports. Imagine trying to get a football team together. It's like in the Paralympics where you get people with different disabilities and they have to make a judgement about how disabled people are while at the same time not splitting them up so much that you can't get eight people for a race.


Perhaps the rules for elite sport don't need to be identical to those at lower levels?

I couldn't honestly say off the top of my head whether the percentage of the population with some kind of physical restriction that would qualify them for the paralympics would be vastly different to the percentage of the population who might be intersex identifying as female or male to female trans. It seems possible they are at least comparable.

But what you're basically saying there is that trans athletes are never going to be allowed to compete at the elite level, only against other trans athletes.

Just to put it in perspective, trans athletes have been eligible to compete at the Olympics since 2003, and in that time, precisely zero trans athletes have qualified. We're not living in a world (yet, at least) where trans athletes are dominating women's sport. Even 'world champion' cyclist Rachel McKinnon is only world champion for the 35-45 age group, not world champion overall, and even she's lost far more than she's won. Any professional track cyclist would absolutely destroy her. A lot is based on hypotheticals at the moment, and yet the concerns of those on both sides are understandable. Especially when you go into combat sports, where getting this wrong could actually be dangerous. To be fair, most sporting authorities do seem to recognise that it's a complex area and so have complex rules to deal with it. But I'm not sure how much science actually goes into creating these rules.
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Re: IAAF regulations for female athletes

#18  Postby Thommo » Feb 26, 2019 3:59 am

I'm With Stupid wrote:But what you're basically saying there is that trans athletes are never going to be allowed to compete at the elite level, only against other trans athletes.


Not at all. Elite trans athletes would be able to compete against elite trans athletes in exactly the same way that elite women can compete against elite women. or elite flyweight boxers compete against elite flyweight boxers. Or indeed elite U17s against elite U17s.

There's absolutely no requirement to compete against women in order to be elite.

The distinction I made between elite and non-elite is only that at lower levels, where there aren't resources and numbers to, as you suggested, make up a full team of trans players (in say the Southern Sunday league division 3) you don't need to enforce the rules to the same degree as in the Olympics. This already happens in lots of ways.

I'm With Stupid wrote:Just to put it in perspective, trans athletes have been eligible to compete at the Olympics since 2003, and in that time, precisely zero trans athletes have qualified. We're not living in a world (yet, at least) where trans athletes are dominating women's sport.


Yes, but with restrictions on their level of androgens in place. And as I already said, trans athletes are not the main issue here. Caster Semenya who we were discussing is not trans.

ETA: Incidentally, I'm not quite sure at what age Dr McKinnon transitioned, it appears to have been completed around the age of 30, so I'm not sure the success being in an age appropriate bracket (and not one I'm sure is governed by the IAAF?) is all that surprising. As far as I can tell, before transition Dr McKinnon was not an elite male athlete, and this is one of the thorny issues in her case.

ETA2: Just a thought on "fairness" and how I would define it in sporting terms. Take an example: Let us suppose that in terms of upper body strength men are, on mean average (for whatever biological reasons, relating to androgens or otherwise) 50% stronger than women, and that this has been scientifically established with excellent reliability, accuracy and reproducibilty. Let us also suppose that some sport, maybe a form of wrestling, is largely governed by upper body strength.

If it was found, again by rigorous scientific method and sampling, that men who transitioned to women (and who then adopted whatever set of requirements on androgen reduction or increase were stipulated by whatever governing body was applicable) only lost 30% of their upper body strength on average, I would say that represents an advantage - an unfair advantage - over women born as women. Similarly, if it was found they lost 70% of their upper body strength on average, I would say that represents an unfair disadvantage.

A telltale sign of unfair advantage would be that non-elite men who transitioned to women became elite women. A telltale sign of unfair disadvantage would be that elite men who transitioned to women became non-elite women. I am taking it as understood that elite men outperform elite women in this event.
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Re: IAAF regulations for female athletes

#19  Postby Rachel Bronwyn » Feb 26, 2019 5:47 am

Women are never going to be able to compete at an elite level again in many power sports if they're expected to compete against trans women who went through male puberty. Testosterone reduction isn't sufficient to level the playing field. Trans women retain a LOT of athletic advantages due to having gone through male puberty even with testosterone blockers.

I don't think cis women and trans women who didn't experience male puberty should be deprived of opportunities so trans women who did go through male development can play in female leagues. Forming teams based on gender identity alone results in people who went through male development dominating a lot of sports to the exclusion of those who didn't. It defeats the purpose of having women's sports at all if cis women and trans women who used puberty blockers just lose opportunities play and excel to people who went through male puberty.

I don't know what the solution is but I sure don't consider it fair that girls are losing opportunities to compete in spor1ting events because all the girls who beat them have male development and size on their side.
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Re: IAAF regulations for female athletes

#20  Postby Cito di Pense » Feb 26, 2019 7:36 am

Rachel Bronwyn wrote:Women are never going to be able to compete at an elite level again in many power sports if they're expected to compete against trans women who went through male puberty. Testosterone reduction isn't sufficient to level the playing field. Trans women retain a LOT of athletic advantages due to having gone through male puberty even with testosterone blockers.

I don't think cis women and trans women who didn't experience male puberty should be deprived of opportunities so trans women who did go through male development can play in female leagues. Forming teams based on gender identity alone results in people who went through male development dominating a lot of sports to the exclusion of those who didn't. It defeats the purpose of having women's sports at all if cis women and trans women who used puberty blockers just lose opportunities play and excel to people who went through male puberty.

I don't know what the solution is but I sure don't consider it fair that girls are losing opportunities to compete in spor1ting events because all the girls who beat them have male development and size on their side.


The solution is simple, Rachel, and that is to have competitions in which transgender individuals are excluded. We can't have one sense in which transgendered individuals are not discriminated against and another sense in which non-transgendered individuals are discriminated against. That just yields the conclusion that people discriminate.

I can, of course, envision a world in which no discrimination occurs because nobody competes any more. I don't wish for that; do you? If physical competition were still maximally meaningful, we wouldn't have computer nerds among the financial masters of the universe.

I personally would like to see competition move toward effective recognition of those with multiple abilities, but nobody wants a competition in which there are not clear enough winners and losers. A lot of individuals who achieve peak success in one area move on to develop in other areas as well. Weight-lifters/body-builders/sculptors, perhaps less so.

Thommo wrote:There's absolutely no requirement to compete against women in order to be elite.


The reason it's a problem is that categories are too broad. What kind of fool compares apples and oranges? Elite? Why don't people compete by ways in which their rankings are meaningful? Hint: Rankings are constructed.

What launched this thread?

TMB wrote:My readings across this is that the fundamental segregation between men and women confers advantages on women based upon gender and these arise from this.


There are all kinds of segregation/discrimination we could implement. TMB sees only one. Go figure. That's what you confront in a TMB thread.

TMB wrote:
Then the question is – weight categories are consciously imposed and accepted across certain sport types, what is the basis to do so, and why are these then applicable to divide sport along gender lines?


See? This is supposed to convince us that TMB considers lots of data and knows how to juggle statistics. Consciously imposed? Ooh! Consciousnessnessness, again. TMB considers so many factors, and you, too, can become distracted by them.
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