IAAF regulations for female athletes

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Re: IAAF regulations for female athletes

#181  Postby I'm With Stupid » Jun 06, 2019 2:21 am

Just to point out, since someone mentioned it, that Caster Semenya is not the fastest woman ever. But it's worth mentioning that the 2 fastest ever times in the women's 800m we're set in the 1980s by Eastern European athletes. And colour me suspicious about any athletics record that was set by athletes from states with a known widespread history of doping and hasn't been broken since the 80s. Take them out and there is only one other woman in history that has run faster than Semenya.
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Re: IAAF regulations for female athletes

#182  Postby tuco » Jun 06, 2019 4:40 am

I will color you :)

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Others offered harsh assessments of Kratochvilova’s physique. An article in The Chicago Sun-Times from Helsinki carried the headline, “Is Czech star really a she?” and, in a slashing basketball reference to Julius Erving, suggested she should be called “Doctored J.”

Leroy Perry, an American chiropractor who consulted with many athletes, told The Sun-Times, “I’ve never seen a female athlete, unaided by male hormones, that strong.”


https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/15/spor ... ecord.html

Well, not quite. We called her Jarmil (a masculine version of Jarmila) which in retrospect seems kinda inconsiderate.

----
edit: Cool story time. During a preparation camp for an international event in Cuba we were given what we were told were energy drinks. My personal record for 100m breaststroke went from 1:19 sec to 1:15 sec in 2 weeks. Though I was told it was an illegal attempt due to me using this:

A rule change came in 1987, before, the head had to be kept above the water surface during the entire stroke. Later on, swimmers were also allowed to break the water with parts of the body other than the head. This led to a variant of the stroke in which the arms are brought together as usual under the body after the pull but then are thrown forward over the water from under the chin until the arms are completely extended.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Breaststroke
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Re: IAAF regulations for female athletes

#183  Postby GrahamH » Jun 08, 2019 12:20 pm

Quite an in depth piece from Noel Plum using some probably controversial language.


It's interesting to me that the IAAF abandoned 46XY and decided not to exclude those people from women's sport.

Although Plum reaches a different conclusion it could be that "women's sport" doesn't make much sense because "biological sex" or gender were only ever crude proxies for athletic ability. As medical technology advances perhaps it will become practical to establish classes and qualifying criteria that are based on something more sensible than how someone looks or how competitive they are. That could open up sport to a spectrum of athletes. Would that be a good thing?

It might tend to push elite athletes into smaller classes and that might reduce the value of competition
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Re: IAAF regulations for female athletes

#184  Postby Thommo » Jun 08, 2019 5:06 pm

GrahamH wrote:Although Plumreaches a different conclusion it could be that "women's sport" doesn't make much sense because "biological sex" or gender were only ever crude proxies for athletic ability.


Or it could be that the purpose of women's sport (and ignoring the other component premises here that could be questioned) was never to act as a crude proxy for athletic ability. And anything which presupposes that has gone wrong at the first.
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Re: IAAF regulations for female athletes

#185  Postby GrahamH » Jun 08, 2019 5:13 pm

Thommo wrote:
GrahamH wrote:Although Plumreaches a different conclusion it could be that "women's sport" doesn't make much sense because "biological sex" or gender were only ever crude proxies for athletic ability.


Or it could be that the purpose of women's sport (and ignoring the other component premises here that could be questioned) was never to act as a crude proxy for athletic ability. And anything which presupposes that has gone wrong at the first.


That's possible. What do you suggest the purpose of women's sport could be then? And given the context of the topic why would it matter? It seems to be all about competitive performance levels.
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Re: IAAF regulations for female athletes

#186  Postby Thommo » Jun 08, 2019 5:27 pm

Because women are half the population, they want to participate in sport, they want inclusivity, role models, representation and all the health and social benefits it affords and almost everyone recognises these as legitimate goals. Women want to be treated with equal respect.

We have far, far more sophisiticated systems of leagues and qualifications and levels of competition than just the diamond league in place already. We don't want the best women competing against men from Southern league division 4. It simply wouldn't recognise the incredible talent and hundreds of hours of gut wrenching, puke inducing literal blood, sweat and tears they've had to put in to achieve what is a frankly ordinary time for a man.

The values we admire in athletes - dedication, commitment, durability, the ability to come back from defeat, perseverance and many others are not fairly reflected by just separating out performances. You may as well have only a single entrance category and do statistical analysis on times at that point.

All of the overly simplistic rules past and present have worked for over 99% of women, and somehow we're in a place where the (correctly identified) unfairness to 1%, or 0.1% or 0.01% (whichever it is) of people who identify as women but differ in one or more key (sexual) biological ways is being seen as more important and a legitimate grounds for destroying the aspiration of all the others.
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Re: IAAF regulations for female athletes

#187  Postby GrahamH » Jun 08, 2019 5:58 pm

Thommo wrote:
We have far, far more sophisiticated systems of leagues and qualifications and levels of competition than just the diamond league in place already. We don't want the best women competing against men from Southern league division 4. It simply wouldn't recognise the incredible talent and hundreds of hours of gut wrenching, puke inducing literal blood, sweat and tears they've had to put in to achieve what is a frankly ordinary time for a man.


So you are not actually disagreeing. Women can't generally compete with men. What matters there is athletic ability, ultimate speed, strength etc. The point of having womens sport then to define a category of athletes better able to compete within the category. The simplest way to do that is to segregate by sex / gender. Thus it is a proxy for athletic ability.


Would anybody object to some other categories so long as women athletes are able to compete to the highest levels of their ability.

Some sports segregate by weight classes, or use weight handicapping. Wouldn't a more direct measure of performance indicator work for athletes of any gender? Why not a category for athletes between typical levels of T? There must be male athletes that can't compete with the elites because of lower T levels. If those are "men from Southern league division 4" who have sweated just as much "puke inducing literal blood, sweat and tears" constrained by their genetics why would you exclude them? Exclude the high T fun runners.
What levels of competition are desirable?
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Re: IAAF regulations for female athletes

#188  Postby Thommo » Jun 08, 2019 6:26 pm

GrahamH wrote:
Thommo wrote:
We have far, far more sophisiticated systems of leagues and qualifications and levels of competition than just the diamond league in place already. We don't want the best women competing against men from Southern league division 4. It simply wouldn't recognise the incredible talent and hundreds of hours of gut wrenching, puke inducing literal blood, sweat and tears they've had to put in to achieve what is a frankly ordinary time for a man.


So you are not actually disagreeing.


I disagree with the bit I disagreed with - the purpose of women's sport is not to act as a crude proxy for athletic ability.

The point of having women's sport is the benefits it affords (primarily to women and girls). The separation of events is required to achieve that aim, *not* to achieve the aim of separating out athletic ability via a crude proxy.

You could use gender as a crude proxy for athletic ability, but there's simply no reason to. If you want to know how good any of these athletes is at the 800m you have a vastly better data set available - their times.

GrahamH wrote:I assume nobody wuld object to some other categories so long as women athletes are able to compete.


I have no idea why you would assume that, you would need to explain and support that assumption. I would expect a majority of people to object. Women need to be able to compete on a basis that is perceived as fair relative to the aims of women's sport (which again, are the role models, celebration of values and so on, not the segregation itself). People also typically object to both spurious and extraneous categorisations.

We might even conjecture that we could use the CAS ruling itself to articulate the boundary of objection: it would need to follow a "necessary, reasonable and proportionate means" of achieving a legitimate sporting objective, else face such objections.

If you had only open categories, but allowed the best 2 women into the contest and they had no chance of winning, people would object. If you had weight categories in athletics, people would object.

If you had the existing categories (with their testosterone and other requirements intact) and added in additional categories, which left them largely alone, for a legitimate purpose (such as the inclusion of trans and intersex athletes on their own somewhat level playing field) then less people would object. Even then, some people would object.

GrahamH wrote:Some sports segregate by weight classes, or use weight handicapping. Wouldn't a more direct measure of performance indicator work for athletes of any gender?


Although this follows on from what seems a spurious assumption or two, it seems exceptionally dubious in itself anyway. Can you actually name any single factor which makes a comparable 10-12% performance difference to testosterone at the 400m, 800m, 1500m or mile events?

GrahamH wrote:There must be male athletes that can't compete with the elites because of lower T levels.


That is, again, an unsupported assumption.

GrahamH wrote:If those are "men from Southern league division 4" who have sweated just as much "puke inducing literal blood, sweat and tears" constrained by their genetics why would you exclude them?


Men in Southern league division 4 have typical levels of testosterone, typically.
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Re: IAAF regulations for female athletes

#189  Postby GrahamH » Jun 08, 2019 7:38 pm

Thommo wrote:
The point of having women's sport is the benefits it affords (primarily to women and girls).


No. The benefits afforded are those afforded by sport. Women's sport is just sport but restricted to a set of people that can't compete with the fastest athletes. That is not a criticism, just a fact. A fact you yourself were just highlighting.

Sport has benefits, segregation by ability is needed have good competitions. Flyweight boxers can't compete with heavyweights, no matter how hard they train.


Segregating by sex is, has always been, the practical way to define those categories for many sports.


But maybe there are other, possibly better, ways to do it.

Thommo wrote:
Although this follows on from what seems a spurious assumption or two, it seems exceptionally dubious in itself anyway. Can you actually name any single factor which makes a comparable 10-12% performance difference to testosterone at the 400m, 800m, 1500m or mile events?



Of course. I should think Height would be that significant in long distance and highjump. Weight plays a big factor in all sorts of contact sports. A weightlifter might be very fit and strong but probably won't do well as a sprinter or a marathon runner.
Phelps has been mentioned in this context as having some particular traits that give him a significant wege over most swimmers.
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Re: IAAF regulations for female athletes

#190  Postby Thommo » Jun 08, 2019 8:38 pm

GrahamH wrote:
Thommo wrote:
The point of having women's sport is the benefits it affords (primarily to women and girls).


No. The benefits afforded are those afforded by sport. Women's sport is just sport but restricted to a set of people that can't compete with the fastest athletes. That is not a criticism, just a fact. A fact you yourself were just highlighting.


It might be a fact, it's not all of the relevant facts though, as I also highlit and made clear.

The prize money, celebrity, sponsorship, role modelling, inspiration of young people who see themselves in your position and the ability to dream of that career for themselves are withheld from women if women aren't competing and winning at the top level.

Half of all people start their lives as young girls, like the famous saying about how any son of a millionaire can aspire to one day be president, there are some fairly obvious holes in the inspirational message of how any young girl with testicles can aspire to be a world champion athlete.

GrahamH wrote:Sport has benefits, segregation by ability is needed have good competitions. Flyweight boxers can't compete with heavyweights, no matter how hard they train.


That isn't segregation by ability.

After the best heavyweights in the world, the next best boxers are also heavyweights, after that the best boxers are heavyweights, only if you play that game inordinately long do you get to the lighter weights with any meaningful regularity.

Of course, you're also overlooking that boxers are divided by sex prior to being divided by weight anyway.

Boxers are not classified by ability and they are not classified by weight "instead of" by sex, but rather "as well as". This distinction about where rules supplant sex restrictions instead of augment them has become something of a recurring theme in this conversation.

The focus on Semenya has purely been about her "rights" to supplant any entrant from the normal biological/hormonal/sex based (or whatever you want to call it) range - 46XX with typical sexual development and Testosterone in the 0.12 to 1.79 nmol/L in blood range from having any chance of ever winning a gold medal.

GrahamH wrote:But maybe there are other, possibly better, ways to do it.


It doesn't look, prima facie, all that likely. Certainly you would have to actually argue it in some detail, and from premises which are not obviously false.

As long as you start from the premise that the goal of women's sport (and indeed boxing weight) is about creating competition based on ability that is not going to happen. It buries the actual purpose of women's sport (as advocated for and hard won by women over many years) beneath a prejudged conclusion.

GrahamH wrote:
Thommo wrote:
Although this follows on from what seems a spurious assumption or two, it seems exceptionally dubious in itself anyway. Can you actually name any single factor which makes a comparable 10-12% performance difference to testosterone at the 400m, 800m, 1500m or mile events?


Of course. I should think Height would be that significant in long distance and highjump.


Sometimes I accuse you of not paying particular heed to the points you choose to reply to. On this occasion I named those events that the disputed CAS ruling applied to.

You have replied about something else.

GrahamH wrote:Weight plays a big factor in all sorts of contact sports. A weightlifter might be very fit and strong but probably won't do well as a sprinter or a marathon runner.


This is a trivially true point. It doesn't bear on what you are replying to, and yet it still falls victim to the same problem:

All those sports are segregated by gender. A couple are then additionally segregated by weight - although, in fact, most contact sports are not.

This has no bearing whatsoever on the objectives behind women's sport, what young girls want to see in a good role model, what women athletes want, or how different ways of accomplishing those goals might be deemed fair, or unfair, and whether they are unfair to small or large numbers of competitors.

GrahamH wrote:Phelps has been mentioned in this context as having some particular traits that give him a significant wege over most swimmers.


This rather seems to have avoided the question you were asked. All of Phelps's numerous traits combined do not amount to the 9-12% edge that Testosterone gives. No one of them comes remotely close.

Phelps is also competing in an open category, not a category restricted based on sex differences whilst having the vast majority of those sex differences working in his favour.

How any of this litany of tangential points actually addresses my simple point that the purpose of women's sport was never to act as a crude proxy for athletic ability, or to clarify your apparent denial of the inspirational, aspirational or role model effects of women's sport (specifically women's sport, contra your opening part of the post) has yet to be made clear.
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Re: IAAF regulations for female athletes

#191  Postby Rachel Bronwyn » Jun 08, 2019 9:18 pm

None of Phelps' advantageous traits are due to him being a different sex from his former competition. They're examples of natural variation of ability. Semenya's advantageous traits are due to being male.
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Re: IAAF regulations for female athletes

#192  Postby GrahamH » Jun 08, 2019 9:34 pm

I think maybe you mistook my question for something like "why would women do sport?" Although that would be absurd it would make sense of your replies.
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Re: IAAF regulations for female athletes

#193  Postby Thommo » Jun 08, 2019 9:56 pm

GrahamH wrote:I think maybe you mistook my question for something like "why would women do sport?" Although that would be absurd it would make sense of your replies.


The point of dispute was not a question. It was this:
Thommo wrote:
GrahamH wrote:Although Plumreaches a different conclusion it could be that "women's sport" doesn't make much sense because "biological sex" or gender were only ever crude proxies for athletic ability.


Or it could be that the purpose of women's sport (and ignoring the other component premises here that could be questioned) was never to act as a crude proxy for athletic ability. And anything which presupposes that has gone wrong at the first.


You suggested: women's sport doesn't make much sense because biological sex was only ever a crude proxy for athletic ability.

I disputed that claim, on the grounds it presupposes the point of women's sport is to be a crude proxy for athletic ability. I have said (repeatedly) the actual purpose of women's sport is to afford the benefits of sport to women, that women have fought hard, for generations against extreme prejudice to earn inclusion as equals, and to act as role models for young girls and women to get them involved in sport and to spread the health, lifestyle, social and economic rewards among them as well.

The "point" of elite women's competitive sport is not to act as a crude proxy for athletic ability, it's not to separate by ability, or ensure the closest possible competition. The answers given were not answers to the question "why would women do sport?"**.

You then reiterated your disagreement with that.

Anyway, rather than try to explain my own understanding of the origins and purposes of women's sport further*, it occurs to me there's a relevant passage in an excellent article written by someone who is both an expert and former woman athlete:
https://quillette.com/2019/05/03/a-vict ... verywhere/
The goals of elite competitive sport are to identify and showcase the best athletes, to produce economic, political, developmental, and health-related benefits for stakeholders and society, and to foster progressive social and political change. Sport is widely seen as adding enormous value in each of these respects.

The IAAF’s mission and agenda mirror these goals. The IAAF regulates competition internationally and administers some of its own events for the purpose of establishing the hierarchy of athletes in each specialty. It celebrates the champions. And it parlays those competitions and champions into business opportunities that feed money back into all levels of the sport and into political opportunities related to its progressive goals.

One of the most important aspects of this last agenda item is empowering girls and women through athletics. In this respect, the IAAF has embraced as its own the progressive public policy mandate of many governments around the world. Specifically, the decision to carve out and equally to support separate men’s and women’s competition categories, reflects the widely-held view that girls and women are entitled to parity with boys and men in the distribution of sporting opportunities and the highly valued goods that flow from participation in this institutional setting. The continuing commitment to equality among the sexes in this sphere also reflects the data that show that empowering girls and women has exponential benefits for society.

These benefits are well-understood. As I have written elsewhere, they include financial, psychological, and political benefits for individual champions; for their governments, leagues, companies, teams and communities; and for the “vast majority of athletes—both development and elite athletes—[who] benefit from the institutional structures established to cultivate the champions and the enterprise.”

In the United States, the commitment to provide equal opportunities to girls and women in sport is based in Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. As Donna de Varona of the Women’s Sports Foundation and Brooke-Marciniak of Ernst & Young have explained, “Title IX … requires us to invest in male and female athletes equally. Title IX prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, in any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance—fortunately for the development of women’s sport, this law also included athletic programs.”

My own story is a testament to the power of mandatory set-asides for female sport and to the value they create for girls and women that would not exist otherwise. I was the first female recipient of a full track scholarship to Villanova University in 1978, six years after Title IX passed into law. I was recruited because I was one of the best under-18 (U18) female half-milers coming out of U.S. high schools that year. Because even mediocre boys could and did run faster, had Title IX not forced colleges to create programs and set-aside funds for girls, I wouldn’t have gotten that scholarship. And because my family was poor, I might never have gone to college. My life story would have been altered in innumerable ways. Most importantly for present purposes, I would not exist as someone with the leadership skills and experience to advocate either for clean sport or for equality for females. I would not exist as someone who could give back, certainly not in the way that I do as a law teacher, and certainly not in this global context. Title IX powered this outcome.

Importantly, it did this not only by affording me that first scholarship, but also by providing me with the same chance as the best boys coming out of high school at securing the longer-term benefits of participation in elite sport. Winning gave me confidence, including on a stage. Training for long-term goals taught me time management, independence, and goal orientation. Losing made me resilient. And traveling made me tough and sophisticated about the world, including about how to make my voice heard in traditionally male spaces. The same is true for many other girls and women for whom elite sport has also been something of an equalizer in a world that has long privileged boys and men.

It matters that girls and women are afforded opportunities equal to boys and men, including in elite athletics. It matters because this is the only way sport can achieve its empowerment goals.

One can argue that empowering girls and women in particular shouldn’t be a focus for sport or for any institution. One can argue that there are other laudable goals, that girls and women aren’t the only marginalized sub-populations, that the allocation of scarce resources should be made differently. But until these arguments persuade policymakers to renege on existing commitments, it remains not only a legitimate policy choice but also a mandate.

Like other policy moves that involve big cultural shifts, the commitment to treat female athletes equally took years to take hold, and although it’s rarely questioned today, it remains fragile. For example, the percentage of girls and women taking part in sport has increased, but it’s still smaller than the percentage of boys and men. The most recently collected statistics show that participation by middle-school U.S. girls is actually decreasing. Funding for and promotion of boys and men remains higher, not only because their participation rates are higher but also because their events are more popular. There are exceptions, but it’s still true that, as a society, we commit to female sport because we have to, while we commit to men’s sport because we want to. There is no doubt that if someone proposed a change in the eligibility rule for the men’s category that threatened to dismantle it and the goods it produces for the participants, their sponsors, and fans, this proposal would go nowhere.

As we work to cement our hard-won, enormously valuable equality, Title IX and similar laws and policies around the world have, and continue to be, an important prod and protection, barring sex discrimination that isn’t based in inherent biological differences and encouraging affirmative measures for females when either inherent differences or continuing disparities make clear they are necessary. Importantly, legal efforts to reform sex discrimination law by erasing “sex” and replacing it with “identity” or “gender identity” haven’t (yet) succeeded in changing this basic framework. Biological sex remains an important legal classification, including in relevant domestic and international law; and inherent biological differences between the sexes remain an essential feature of sex discrimination law in particular.

(Note: the article is written by Doriane Lambelet Coleman, who submitted evidence to CAS on behalf of the IAAF)

*Which I would probably do on the basis of a general societal view towards protecting the equality of opportunity and against discrimination of certain protected characteristics - race, religion, sex, sexuality etc. and how there is a profound need for role models in each of those dimensions, as well as for the creation of opportunities - but how only one of them requires the specific stepping stone of the creation of a separate category of competition.

**And it is an unfortunate habit of yours to give multiple successive replies, and then, only in retrospect, to try to undermine the whole conversation you've just had by inventing a misunderstanding that somehow you've only just felt worthy of mention, immediately after a very clear instance of your own replies not matching the text they quoted and purported to be a reply to, e.g. replying to a question about middle distance races CAS ruled on with hypotheticals about high jumpers.
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Re: IAAF regulations for female athletes

#194  Postby Thommo » Jun 08, 2019 11:02 pm

It did also occur to me that this part of that same article:
Although I’m not a trained empiricist, I did communicate at length with top female athletes and their teams as I prepared to testify at the CAS about this case. I wanted to be able—as accurately as possible–to describe the concerns they themselves did not feel free to express, either publicly or at the court. What I found was a lot of confusion about the science; deep hurt about being bullied into silence by false accusations of ignorance, racism, and bad sportsmanship; and a combination of pain and frustration about the competitive status quo.

I did find a few top female athletes who were supportive of “women with high T” in the women’s category. But I also found that the terms “women with high T” and “women with hyperandrogenism” have been widely misunderstood to mean “elevated levels of male sex hormones…in the female body.” As one said, “Hyperandrogenism means they have problems with their ovaries, right?” When this misunderstanding is cleared up and they learn that the term “hyperandrogenism” has been mis-applied to cases of normal T levels in biological males who identify as women, the support disappears and what remains are questions about how and why they were led to think otherwise.

It is possible that there are currently active females in the field who understand the relevant biology and still support the idea of a women’s category bounded only by gender identity. But at least at the elite level, where athletes and their families are making extraordinary sacrifices so that they can make teams, finals and podiums, it is more reasonable to presume that most are not. As Sonia O’Sullivan wrote in 2016, “it actually feels like the majority of women athletes are being held to ransom, while the legal teams get their act together and make a decision on the future for women’s sport—while the athletes in question continue to compete, winning medals, setting records and walking away with a substantial amount of prize money.”

Almost everyone I spoke with was in this camp. Some have trans and intersex friends, and so care a lot about a policy that does not require surgery of those whose identity doesn’t conform to their biology. But as one told me, “our bodies just can’t do what theirs can, and so if we’re to be able to win medals, we need protection.” Another put it this way: “We’re not allowed to speak publicly about it because when we do, we are attacked for being horrible people. But we talk to each other, and I’ve never talked to another athlete in our events who isn’t frustrated, devastated, and completely fed up.”


Echoed a number of things said here.
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Re: IAAF regulations for female athletes

#195  Postby GrahamH » Jun 09, 2019 6:31 am

Thommo wrote:It did also occur to me that this part of that same article:
Although I’m not a trained empiricist, I did communicate at length with top female athletes and their teams as I prepared to testify at the CAS about this case. I wanted to be able—as accurately as possible–to describe the concerns they themselves did not feel free to express, either publicly or at the court. What I found was a lot of confusion about the science; deep hurt about being bullied into silence by false accusations of ignorance, racism, and bad sportsmanship; and a combination of pain and frustration about the competitive status quo.

I did find a few top female athletes who were supportive of “women with high T” in the women’s category. But I also found that the terms “women with high T” and “women with hyperandrogenism” have been widely misunderstood to mean “elevated levels of male sex hormones…in the female body.” As one said, “Hyperandrogenism means they have problems with their ovaries, right?” When this misunderstanding is cleared up and they learn that the term “hyperandrogenism” has been mis-applied to cases of normal T levels in biological males who identify as women, the support disappears and what remains are questions about how and why they were led to think otherwise.

It is possible that there are currently active females in the field who understand the relevant biology and still support the idea of a women’s category bounded only by gender identity. But at least at the elite level, where athletes and their families are making extraordinary sacrifices so that they can make teams, finals and podiums, it is more reasonable to presume that most are not. As Sonia O’Sullivan wrote in 2016, “it actually feels like the majority of women athletes are being held to ransom, while the legal teams get their act together and make a decision on the future for women’s sport—while the athletes in question continue to compete, winning medals, setting records and walking away with a substantial amount of prize money.”

Almost everyone I spoke with was in this camp. Some have trans and intersex friends, and so care a lot about a policy that does not require surgery of those whose identity doesn’t conform to their biology. But as one told me, “our bodies just can’t do what theirs can, and so if we’re to be able to win medals, we need protection.” Another put it this way: “We’re not allowed to speak publicly about it because when we do, we are attacked for being horrible people. But we talk to each other, and I’ve never talked to another athlete in our events who isn’t frustrated, devastated, and completely fed up.”


Echoed a number of things said here.



That's all good. The only point I'm questioning is "the women’s category"

We agree that “our bodies just can’t do what theirs can, and so if we’re to be able to win medals, we need protection.”

We agree that women should be competing in sport and that all athletes at the top of their personal form would want to have a chance to win medals or break records.

The goals of elite competitive sport are to identify and showcase the best athletes, to produce economic, political, developmental, and health-related benefits for stakeholders and society, and to foster progressive social and political change. Sport is widely seen as adding enormous value in each of these respects.


Agreed.

The thing I'm questioning is whether basing that "protection" and categories for sport on what has largely been "a women’s category bounded only by gender identity" makes sense.

The IAAF seem to be moving to a mix of that plus testosterone level testing.

But when the objective is good competition for (all) athletes that requires categories that segregate by athletic ability. Gender or appearance are essentially unimportant except as an indicator of potential performance. T levels influence ability and so serve as an indicator, and gender is generally an indicator of T levels. So categories for athletes could be based on gender identity, chromosomes, Testosterone, or some other measure maybe closer to the key issue of performance potential.


It seems the IAAF recognise that male / female and chromosomes fall short and T levels are ambiguities.


So long as female athletes (and why not other athletes who can't compete with elite men) can participate and achieve in sport the goals are met. Kids have role models, athletes can earn a living and achieve.


So we don't need a category "women's sport" so long as all the objectives can be met, maybe better, by appropriate categories of performance.
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Re: IAAF regulations for female athletes

#196  Postby Thommo » Jun 09, 2019 7:17 am

GrahamH wrote:The thing I'm questioning is whether basing that "protection" and categories for sport on what has largely been "a women’s category bounded only by gender identity" makes sense.

The IAAF seem to be moving to a mix of that plus testosterone level testing.


The two things are essentially completely different. One uses the single strongest identifier of biological sex, which the various sources we've seen estimate to account for between 90% and 100% of the performance differences between men and women, and the other makes no account of those differences at all.

It is true that the gender identity question is different to the biological sex question (given the modern understanding of those terms) but equally it is true that most people don't want to simply exclude either trans or intersex people from sport and want to come to the most reasonable, fairest accomodation for both - that is a set of rules that applies equally to all people is always going to be preferred.

GrahamH wrote:But when the objective is good competition for (all) athletes that requires categories that segregate by athletic ability.


Yes, that isn't the objective though. If it was, then yes the ideal theoretical construct is something like a ladder (that's the kind of system you might see in chess or squash).

GrahamH wrote:Gender or appearance are essentially unimportant except as an indicator of potential performance. T levels influence ability and so serve as an indicator, and gender is generally an indicator of T levels. So categories for athletes could be based on gender identity, chromosomes, Testosterone, or some other measure maybe closer to the key issue of performance potential.


Testosterone, as a single marker, has been shown to account for around 90% or more of the performance differential. It's hard to see how something else is going to turn out to be more important.

GrahamH wrote:It seems the IAAF recognise that male / female and chromosomes fall short and T levels ave ambiguities.


They have identified that multiple factors are involved. The new rules actually adopt all of those factors though.

Testosterone is a massive performance enhancer for people with normal androgen receptors, and yes, there exists a very small minority of people with inactive androgen reception. For those people testosterone is not a performance enhancer, and the rules account for and reflect that, with a stated presumption of benefit of the doubt going to the athlete.

GrahamH wrote:So long as female athletes (and why not other athletes who can't compete with elite men) can participate and achieve in sport the goals are met. Kids have role models, athletes can earn a living and achieve.


Ignore the theoretical construct for five minutes.

Have you actually ever met little girls? Have you seen how they look up to women who inspire them? I've been assuming we all have. There is simply no alternative for role models than women. If you want girls to believe that there's a role for women at the top of sport, they have to see women at the top of sport. Period.

And if the only women that get to the top of sport are women with testes, then that's the role that is set.

GrahamH wrote:So we don't need a category "women's sport" so long as all the objectives can be met, maybe better, by appropriate categories of performance.


If there was any remotely credible suggestion of how exactly that could be done, I'd take it seriously.

I'm not here to play logic games.
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Re: IAAF regulations for female athletes

#197  Postby GrahamH » Jun 09, 2019 7:40 am

Thommo wrote:
GrahamH wrote:
GrahamH wrote:But when the objective is good competition for (all) athletes that requires categories that segregate by athletic ability.


Yes, that isn't the objective though. If it was, then yes the ideal theoretical construct is something like a ladder (that's the kind of system you might see in chess or squash).


Good competition is not the objective?
You just posted a good piece saying how the problem is uneven competition! The objective of the regulations is thus to improve that problem. Better competition for women athletes.


Thommo wrote:Testosterone, as a single marker, has been shown to account for around 90% or more of the performance differential. It's hard to see how something else is going to turn out to be more important.


If it were that simple the issue would be entirely settled, but testoerone clearly doesn't server as a single marker. It has to be couched in all sorts of criteria to relate it better to performance. 90%? Where does that number come from?


Thommo wrote:
GrahamH wrote:It seems the IAAF recognise that male / female and chromosomes fall short and T levels ave ambiguities.


They have identified that multiple factors are involved. The new rules actually adopt all of those factors though.


Have they definitively related all the complexity to performance advantage in all these cases? Are you sure?

Thommo wrote:
Testosterone is a massive performance enhancer for people with normal androgen receptors, and yes, there exists a very small minority of people with inactive androgen reception. For those people testosterone is not a performance enhancer, and the rules account for and reflect that, with a stated presumption of benefit of the doubt going to the athlete.

GrahamH wrote:So long as female athletes (and why not other athletes who can't compete with elite men) can participate and achieve in sport the goals are met. Kids have role models, athletes can earn a living and achieve.


Ignore the theoretical construct for five minutes.


How about not ignoring it? Why force athletes to chose between competing in categories they don't really fit into at the price of taking hormones for no medical reason only to destroy their performance, to withdraw from high level sport or try to enter mens events and, if allowed, face similar competitive mismatch that the women complain about/

Why not have classes of events based more directly on performance potential?

Thommo wrote:
Have you actually ever met little girls? Have you seen how they look up to women who inspire them? I've been assuming we all have. There is simply no alternative for role models than women. If you want girls to believe that there's a role for women at the top of sport, they have to see women at the top of sport. Period.


WTF has that got to do with it? I'm suggesting principles that would preserve women in sport. The role models would be there. It might be better in that it would not limit girls to gender-based categories. DSD kids could also have role models

[quote="Thommo";p="2700249"]And if the only women that get to the top of sport are women with testes, then that's the role that is set.
They DONT get to "the top of sport" they get to the top of a category of sport. In this case a category of "women only sport"
And in terms of individual achievement that is inspiring.

Suppose the categories was "T5" (T at 5nmol/l) and T15 and T30. There would be champions who are women wining medals and setting records. Maybe Semenya and others would have a place to shine.


Think out of the box a little.
Why do you think that?
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Re: IAAF regulations for female athletes

#198  Postby Thommo » Jun 09, 2019 8:31 am

GrahamH wrote:Suppose the categories was "T2" (T at 5nmol/l) and T15 and T30. There would be champions who are women wining medals and setting records. Maybe Semenya would have a place to shine.

Think out of the box a little.


It's not that I'm against thinking outside the box, rather that I'm in favour of thinking things through.

The practical consequence of those categories would be a women's category and two men's categories. It wouldn't even obviate most of the sex or other testing or deal with the complexities around people with partial or full androgen insensitivity.

Essentially it would boil down to supporting the CAS ruling, but with some arbitrary bolt ons.

Given the ubiquity of men running better times than Semenya, she almost certainly wouldn't win a medal in those categories, since 15 nmol/l is well through the male range of testosterone (and probably in the neighbourhood of Semenya's own level, since she also argued against the previous restrictions to 10 nmol/l).

Whether this is actually any more outside the box than the numerous other suggestions for some kind of intersex friendly competitors category (including my own back on page 1), is perhaps another matter.
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Re: IAAF regulations for female athletes

#199  Postby GrahamH » Jun 09, 2019 8:59 am

Oh FFS, would it have hurt to agree a little when clearly we do have quite a lot of agreement as demonstrated by your post

Thommo wrote:
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.



Calling it an "intersex category" alongside "women's" and "Men's" would be a problem, but there might be more acceptance of "natural ability" classes.

No doubt you will completely disagree.
Why do you think that?
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Re: IAAF regulations for female athletes

#200  Postby GrahamH » Jun 09, 2019 9:05 am

Thommo wrote:
GrahamH wrote:Suppose the categories was "T2" (T at 5nmol/l) and T15 and T30. There would be champions who are women wining medals and setting records. Maybe Semenya would have a place to shine.

Think out of the box a little.


It's not that I'm against thinking outside the box, rather that I'm in favour of thinking things through.

The practical consequence of those categories would be a women's category and two men's categories. It wouldn't even obviate most of the sex or other testing or deal with the complexities around people with partial or full androgen insensitivity.

Essentially it would boil down to supporting the CAS ruling, but with some arbitrary bolt ons.


Sort of, yes, but rather than "some arbitrary bolt ons" the key difference is it would enable athletes like Semenya, and potentially anyone with natural hormone levels outside normal range, to compete in high level sport, if they have the dedication and aptitude, with all those attendent benefits, role models etc.


As it stands the IAAF / CAS ruling just excludes Semenya from competitive sport because the categories have labels "women's" and "men's"
Last edited by GrahamH on Jun 09, 2019 10:54 am, edited 1 time in total.
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