Hubbard in, Semenya out: The Olympics sparked debate about who is eligible to be a woman

Laurel Hubbard and Castel Semenya Are all world-class female athletes, but only Semenya Considered female she The whole life. Hubbard Changed from a male to a female at the age of 34.

However Hubbard Will participate in the women’s weightlifting competition in Tokyo on Monday Olympic Games although Semenya From watching the game she At home in South Africa, she Defense she The 800-meter race champion was she Refuse to lower she Naturally occurring high testosterone levels.

The difference is Hubbard Followed the testosterone rules she While exercising Semenya Have chosen to fight them, but the ghost of intersex runners Hubbard Making history as the first transgender female Olympian has sparked debate about fairness, inclusiveness, and what it means to be a woman for the sake of elite sports.

Linda Blade, author of the book “Unsporting: How Trans Activism and Science Denial are Destroying Sport” said this situation illustrates the flaws in the IOC’s 2015 guidelines, which allow trans athletes to maintain testosterone levels. In the case of participating in the women’s team competition is below a certain level.

“It is impossible to change gender, even if we admit that someone has the right to identify or simulate someone who is the opposite of them,” said Ms. Brad, the former Canadian track and field champion. “admit Hubbard Also exclude Semenya It can only prove that the 2015 IOC’s “consensus” regulations on transgender athletes and transgender athletes are arbitrary and absurd. “

Critics on social media have noticed this contrast, calling it “shame”, “bad joke” and “shameful paradox.”

“As for how transgender people should participate in the Olympics, I am not sure about my position, but I found that Semenya is Hubbard Yes,” said a commenter on Twitter, where the debate is already intense.

Race issues also come into play because Semenya He is black, and Hubbard, a New Zealander, is white.

Laurel Hubbard, white transgender woman: Can participate in the Olympics as a woman.Casters Semenya, A black African woman who was born a woman was banned from participating in the Olympics as a woman,” said a South African Twitter user. “I have no objection. Hubbard Competition, but the ever-changing standards are staggering. “

The University of Colorado Boulder Professor Roger Pilk Jr. said the frustration is understandable, and he testified as an expert witness Semenya exist she In 2019, the case against the International Athletics Administration (now known as World Athletics) was set up by the Swiss-based Sports arbitration court.

“I can understand how people will view these cases and think they are inconsistent with each other,” Mr. Pilk said. “I think this issue is not only about fairness, but also about inclusiveness. SemenyaCircumstances, the World Athletics Federation tends to exclude HubbardIn this case, the International Olympic Committee is in favor of inclusion. “

According to the 2015 guidelines of the International Olympic Committee, transgender athletes can participate in women’s sports as long as they limit their testosterone to less than 10 nanomoles per liter at least six months before the competition. This is the standard followed by the International Weightlifting Federation.

Hubbard, 43, always keep she Testosterone is below the limit because she I started participating in the competition in 2017, which is five years after turning into a female. Ranked seventh in the world, she Participated in the women’s +87 kg competition on Monday and won medals for outside shots.

World Athletics chose a narrower road. In 2019, it lowered the testosterone standard for distances between 400 meters and 1 mile to 5 nmol/L. This rule applies to transgender runners and 46 XY DSD athletes. [Difference in Sexual Development] picture Semenya.

The World Athletics Association, formerly known as the International Athletics Federation, called its lower testosterone level “the highest level that a healthy woman with ovaries can achieve.”

This may even be generous: According to data from the World Athletics Games, women’s average testosterone levels range from 0.06 to 1.68 nmol/L, which is much lower than the men’s range of 7.7 to 29.4 nmol/L.

Those born with 46 XY DSD (also known as hyperandrogenism) may have female or ambiguous genitalia despite having male chromosomes and internal male testes, and they usually produce male-range genitalia after puberty Testosterone.

Reducing testosterone usually involves taking birth control pills, but 30-year-olds Semenya Refused, saying they did she When you feel uncomfortable she I have tried them before and are “taking the soul out of my body”.

“They want me to shut down my own system. I’m not sick. I don’t need drugs. I will never do that.” Semenya Tell [U.K.] Guardian in April.

‘Significant performance advantage’

this means she The running career may be over. Semenya Awaiting verdict she Appeal to the European Court of Human Rights after losing the case she Before the case Sports arbitration court And the Swiss Federal Supreme Court.

After the 2016 Rio Olympics, world track and field are in trouble Olympic Games Three of the 46 XY DSD players swept 800 meters: the gold medalist Semenya, Burundi’s Francine Nyong Saba won the silver medal, Kenyan Margaret Wanbu won the bronze medal.

According to data from the World Athletics Games, the proportion of such intersex athletes in women’s track and field sports is too high. Research over the past ten years has found that about 7.1 out of every 1,000 outstanding female athletes are “very high male testosterone levels.” DSD athletes”.

The World Athletics Federation stated on its website: “The frequency of DSD individuals in the elite athlete group is about 140 times that of the general female group, and they appear on the podium more frequently than this.” “This case Accepting this, from a statistical point of view, it shows that they have significant performance advantages. “

The stricter standards derailed CeCe Telfer, an American hurdler, who was the first transgender athlete to win the NCAA Women’s Championship. She was ruled ineligible to participate in the American Track and Field Trials in June.

Two 18-year-old Namibian track and field athletes Christine Mboma and Beatrice Masilingi were disqualified from the 400m race after testing for high testosterone earlier this month, despite the Namibian National Olympic Committee president reportedly saying that they all have XX chromosomes.

According to OutSports, the response of the Namibian government is to call on the sports federation to “see a way to exclude any athletes due to natural conditions not created by them.”

There will be at least one intersex runner in the 2020 Olympics. What did Niyonsaba accomplish Semenya Cannot pass the qualifying for the 5000m race, which is beyond the testosterone window of the World Athletics Federation. she The first round of the Heat is scheduled for Friday.

Women’s sports advocates like Ms. Bled believe that the Olympics should draw a line between participants with XY chromosomes and accused the International Olympic Committee of delaying review of its guidelines until after the Tokyo Olympics. Olympic Games.

“The International Olympic Committee recognizes that the 2015 parameters must be reviewed, but they will only review it after the 2020 Tokyo Olympics,” Ms. Bled said in an email. “This is ridiculous.”

In a press conference on July 17, Thomas Bach, President of the International Olympic Committee, stated that “you cannot change the rules in an ongoing game”, but the committee is in the “investigative phase” to review the rules. And “put forward some guidelines.”

“[They] It cannot be a rule, because this is a problem for which there is no one-size-fits-all solution. It varies from sport to sport,” Mr. Bach said.

SemenyaFor a long time, supporters believe that runners should not be punished for their natural advantages. she High testosterone, for example, long arms, abnormal height, or fast muscles.

she Champions include Unilever’s Lux beauty brand, which launched an advertising campaign called “Born This Way” in March, and the #StandwithCaster petition supporting the overthrow of the world’s track and field rules.

“Reasonable people may disagree about the appropriate rules, but a good starting point is that no athlete should be punished for violating the rules. she Mr. Pilk said in an email that the biology that has occurred naturally since birth (Semenya), any athlete should not be stigmatized for complying with the rules of sports when they encounter the rules of sports (Hubbard).

Doriane Lambelet Coleman, a professor at Duke University School of Law, testified on behalf of track and field authorities. Although there is no separate classification, such as tall and short athletes, sports deliberately distinguish between men and female.

“To say that a normal male testicle and T level should be like when it enters the female range [swimmer] Michael Phelps’ special feet, arms and body ignore the sport’s decision to put the female category aside for policy reasons, and the female category precisely excludes the characteristics that define the male category,” she accepted the Quillette podcast in May 2019 Said in the interview.

Even opponents Semenya Compete with women she The preferred event has expressed sympathy she Dilemma and praise she “Grace and Fortitude” as case The ruling said.

“[T]There is no suggestion to the lady here. Semenya (Or any other female athlete in the same position as the lady) Semenya) What did you do wrong. The April 2019 decision stated that this is not any form of cheating or misconduct. “Multiple sclerosis. Semenya Not accused of violating any rules. she Participation and success in elite women’s track and field sports are completely beyond reproach. “

Semenya Already clear she Will only participate in the women’s competition, but last month, Wambui called for the establishment of a third category for female participants because their high testosterone excludes them from the preferred competition.

Wabui told the BBC Africa Sports Channel: “It would be great to introduce a third category for athletes with high testosterone-because it would be wrong to prevent people from using their talents.”

The 25-year-old athlete refused to take hormones. She said she wanted to “inspire others who conceal their condition.

“We can tell them that it’s not their fault, that’s how they were created,” Wambui said, “and they didn’t do anything wrong.”

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