Rachel McKinnon defends track world title

  • This topic has 282 replies, 84 voices, and was last updated 2 months ago by  benv.
Viewing 40 posts - 161 through 200 (of 283 total)
  • Rachel McKinnon defends track world title
  • mcj78
    Member

    Yeah, posture aside – there’s no absolute proof that had she been born a woman she would not have the same physiological attributes she currently possesses. It is likely that exposure to testosterone has given her a developmental benefit re. muscle mass, but it’s impossible to prove that couldn’t have been achieved on training alone.

    On the genetics slant – Robert Forsteman apparently has a genetic condition which leads to an increase of muscle mass, hence his legs are of terrifying proportions, but he doesn’t always romp it – suppose there’s a cut off where excess muscle mass stops being a clear benefit

    @mcj78 what a crock of nonsense.

    Premier Icon chakaping
    Subscriber

    Yeah, posture aside – there’s no absolute proof that had she been born a woman she would not have the same physiological attributes she currently possesses.

    Yet I’m sure you are aware there’s a very strong probability.

    Which is all there really is for a lot of evidence-based decisions that get made.

    mcj78
    Member

    Yet I’m sure you are aware there’s a very strong probability.

    Which is all there really is for a lot of evidence-based decisions that get made.

    Of course there’s a very, very, “strong” probability, just playing devil’s advocate

    @mcj78 what a crock of nonsense.

    Well that’s a exceedingly well thought out & reasoned argument – not even sure what it refers to, so perhaps if you enlighten me i’ll do my best to clarify things for you

    Premier Icon w00dster
    Subscriber

    For those taking it the wrong way, the photo is about the “man spreading”, with the two born ladies sitting with legs crossed. It was also a light hearted comment.
    MCJ58, do you really believe your first paragraph? Look at the photo’s. That surely is evidence this athlete has not produced muscle mass by training alone. In fact I’d go as far as suggesting Rachel does not need to train as much as her opposition in order to win. This is someone who was born a male, went through puberty as a male, trained and raced as a male. At a later date identified as a female and transitioned.
    I in no way believe they transitioned for the benefit of winning races. I think the message Rachel is making is correct, sport is inclusive. However I also do believe that the categories should be changed. Rachel shouldn’t be racing against people born without her advantages.

    “Yeah, posture aside – there’s no absolute proof that had she been born a woman she would not have the same physiological attributes she currently possesses. It is likely that exposure to testosterone has given her a developmental benefit re. muscle mass, but it’s impossible to prove that couldn’t have been achieved on training alone.”

    Of course it isn’t impossible to prove. Look at a class of ten year old children – the boys and girls all average around the same height, ie the short boys are similar height to the short girls, the tall boys are like the tall girls, etc.

    Then look at a class of 18 year olds. The normal distribution of heights and weights for male and female no longer sit on top of each other, the males’ distribution is shifted taller and heavier.

    Increasing the size of the skeletal frame of a human increases the amount of muscle and thus strength and power that human can generate, as well as increasing heart and lung size and thus aerobic capacity.

    Yes, top female athletes are far better than typical men at what they do. But take Olympic decathletes and heptathletes – the men’s builds gives them an inherent advantage which will not be fully removed by hormone manipulation because they are essentially competing in a heavier weight class (and if you’re bigger, weights feel lighter and distances are smaller vs stride length etc).

    Strongman is another good example – the women competing in this are far stronger than most of us men but they’re at the extreme end of female genetics. But compared to the men they’re nowhere! These strongwomen might be getting on for 6’ tall and 15+ stone but the men are about a foot taller and twice the weight. Hormone therapy would reduce their muscle mass but it would not reduce the size of their frame, shrink their lungs or remove the number myonuclei that they have.

    Any sport that requires power or force is better served by the average male frame than the average female frame. And that’s most of them!

    scotroutes
    Member

    I in no way believe they transitioned for the benefit of winning races

    It would be naive to suggest that no one will do this given what some people are willing to do to themselves in pursuit of success and as we go down the road of self id the issue will only get greater. Sporting bodies are struggling with todays position. Imagine what could be to come.

    thelawnet
    Member

    What I wrote. Disqualifying someone from an existing category (for which they satisfy the criteria) by introducing a fudged requirement mandating unnecessary medication to limit performance.

    There’s a valid case for re-examining how we categorise athletes, but the IAAF didn’t do that properly, resulting in a very poor outcome for Semenya and a number of other athletes.

    Perhaps you are not seeing the issue, which is that as a woman in South African law, Caster Semenya starts from the position of having a right to compete in women’s sport.

    Whether or not Caster Semenya is a woman is to some extent a philosophical debate, and not one that is within the remit of the IAAF.

    As such, given that there were 1, 2 and 3 athletes in the 800m all possessing testes and sensitivity to androgens, there was a fairness issue to those athletes who do not possess testes, and who had no chance of winning.

    As such the IAAF set out to address the real issue which had arisen, which was that 3 athletes with testes and functioning androgen receptors were dominating an event to the exclusion of all athletes without testes.

    In the past we have seen other athletes with testes & either non-functioning or very poorly functioning androgen receptors (e.g., Dutee Chand, Maria José Martínez-Patiño), and they have NOT dominated their sports, and the conclusion in respect of those cases has been ‘let them run’.

    The authorities can only respond to the cases that actually arise.

    In terms of Semenya it seems that a better decision would have been to have said ‘compete as a male’, but it seems that this option was not really open to them. They have said

    * you are biologically male (source: CAS case)
    * you are a woman
    * your male levels of testosterone give you an advantage over other athletes, and these levels arise from the fact you are biologically male, so you must reduce your T.

    Saying ‘you are a man’ was not within their remit – legally Caster Semenya is a woman.

    Semenya has three options now:

    * compete at other distances not covered by the ruling
    * compete as a man
    * compete taking anti-androgens.

    Only one of these options involves unnecessary medication.

    But who cares, if she’s XX she competes in the XX category. No ambiguity there, that’s be beauty of taking gender out of it and letting chromosomal makeup be the sole arbiter.

    Chromosomal category might be part of a new system, but I don’t know if it would be sufficient on its own. I believe there are quite a number of different chromosomal disorders (on both the male and female spectra) but I don’t know enough about it to understand if you could use them to form practical categories.

    Makes no difference. If you have a Chromosomal disorder that means you’re not XX you compete in ‘other’. If you have a Chromosomal disorder that leaves you as XX you compete in ‘XX’. That’s the beauty of taking gender out of it and letting chromosomal makeup be the sole arbiter.

    Interesting that you felt the need to say “on both the male and female spectra”. because my suggested classification is nothing to do with sex or gender. This is simply classifying athletes according to an arbitrary definition that ends debate and uncertainty and is fair to the most people possible. (Sadly not everyone, but no classification would be.)

    @thelawnet – excellent well reasoned and informed post(s).

    retro83
    Member

    mcj78

    Member

    Yeah, posture aside – there’s no absolute proof that had she been born a woman she would not have the same physiological attributes she currently possesses. It is likely that exposure to testosterone has given her a developmental benefit re. muscle mass, but it’s impossible to prove that couldn’t have been achieved on training alone.

    Not just muscle mass, the skeleton is different e.g. the shape of the pelvis, the type of muscle fibres, etc.

    mcj78
    Member

    do you really believe your first paragraph? Look at the photo’s. That surely is evidence this athlete has not produced muscle mass by training alone. In fact I’d go as far as suggesting Rachel does not need to train as much as her opposition in order to win. This is someone who was born a male, went through puberty as a male, trained and raced as a male.

    As I said, i’m not questioning whether in her current biological capacity she has benefited from the presence of testosterone during her formative years, she undoubtedly has & I actually agree with everything you’re saying.

    My (slightly convoluted) point was – if she had been born with an XY genotype & trained to the very limit of her theoretical capacity, would she be able to replicate the same form she has now? That’s what we can’t say for certain. You even say she probably doesn’t need to train as much as her opposition – what if she was born a woman & did – would she still be winning? Get what I was meaning?

    Premier Icon BillOddie
    Subscriber

    Everyone should have the right to identify as whatever they want.  The issue comes when the “rights” to do A because they identify as B impinges in on the rights of others.  Female (XX) athletes have the right to compete against other female (XX) athletes, if you are XY competing against XX, you are impinging on that right.

    problem there is it’s hard to negate any performance advantage of increased levels of testosterone during the 20-odd years of her physiological development prior to that.

    Those long femurs and narrower hips make quite a bit of difference!  Male Puberty is the best Anabolic ever!

    mcj78
    Member

    Those long femurs and narrower hips make quite a bit of difference! Male Puberty is the best Anabolic ever!

    As a 40 year old hobbit with womanly hips I can only look forward to these performance enhancing benefits when they decide to appear 😀

    scotroutes
    Member

    Am I correct in believing that the UCI rules mean that Trans athletes still have a higher testosterone level than the female competitors? Surely that confers an ongoing advantage..

    Premier Icon verbboy
    Subscriber

    I find the trans athlete thing fascinating (much to my wife’s dismay!)

    Father of 4, 3 girls and a boy.

    1 girl of our girls certainly no older than 4 was adamant she was a boy without a willy (she is nearly 12 now). She cry’s if put near a dress, physically effects her. She loves her shorts and T shirt and that’s that. We don’t mind. She is who she is. However, she doesn’t say she’s a boy anymore, long hair earrings arguably typical girl appearance. If she was in some progressive Canadian / US home transitioning seems to be a thing.

    The point being I couldn’t care less about someone being trans, eldest daughters friend has decided to be called a boys name as opposed to her girls name. Who cares?

    Robert Miller (I’m not trying to dead name him, he exists in race results) was a fantastic cyclist. Can you imagine the mess he’d have made of women’s cycling at the time? He wasn’t a muscular man but he was technically a man.

    I listened to the Strava podcast on McKinnon and I found it interesting but I do not think she should be competing with Women. As a man she was I imagine an ok athlete. I don’t think she woke up and thought I know I’ll become a woman to win, best not confuse the trans part, almost without question her body had distinct hormone advantages growing up. She can’t help that it is biological.

    Particularly in strength based sports it’s scary. If your child is a female contact sport athlete do you fancy them competing for an Olympic place again a “man”.

    Should trans people be able to compete, YES absolutely. We have para sports (in which people do try to get in the most suitable category of disability to give them an advantage in that class so not perfect!)

    Flip it around a girl / woman who identifies as a boy / man is great at cyclist, world class in fact. How will they cope in the male field. Badly! Is hat fair? Absolutely not either.

    My business partner is Canadian and his 17yo daughter is so progressive, which is her right. She skates at a decent level and ask the question how would she feel if a trans skater came in and busting moves only a “man” can do and win, she was dead against it. Not surprisingly.

    Anyone being trans must be tough mentally, I can’t imagine how it must feel. And their “right” to compete as the person they feel they are is perfectly understandable, but if we all did what we feel was our “right” the world would be more ****ed than it is.

    Find a way for any trans person to compete as fairly as possible, takes out the personal attacks they get and some court in the first place!

    kcr
    Member

    Perhaps you are not seeing the issue, which is that as a woman in South African law, Caster Semenya starts from the position of having a right to compete in women’s sport.
    Whether or not Caster Semenya is a woman is to some extent a philosophical debate, and not one that is within the remit of the IAAF…
    …Saying ‘you are a man’ was not within their remit – legally Caster Semenya is a woman.

    Semenya has three options now:

    * compete at other distances not covered by the ruling
    * compete as a man
    * compete taking anti-androgens.

    Only one of these options involves unnecessary medication.

    I’m not making any judgement on what you call the “philosophical debate”, or Semenya’s legal status in South Africa.
    I’m specifically calling out the IAAF handling of the issue as unsatisfactory and unfair. Semenya satisfied the existing IAAF criteria to compete as a woman. The IAAF have tacked on additional conditions because of concerns about the way she has dominated her event. The fact she can “* compete at other distances not covered by the ruling” proves what a bodge it is.

    The authorities can only respond to the cases that actually arise.

    They need to have a proper, everything on the desk, discussion about how you classify athletes. As you point out yourself, they’ve allowed some athletes to keep competing without sanction, because they weren’t “dominant”, but have targeted other athletes in one event because they won too often (while allowing them to carry on competing, unmedicated, in different events). There’s no evidence of a reasoned strategy, and I don’t think this sort of inconsistency is good for anyone competing in the sport.

    thelawnet
    Member

    That’s not quite the full story, @kcr.

    There are a few different types of people here

    1. those who like Rachel McKinnon were born with normal XY biology, and went through male puberty, and lived as male till some point in adulthood, whereupon they claimed to have some kind of ‘innate female essence’, which cannot be verified by any biological test, but is nonetheless accepted in law, as meaning that they are now legally women.
    2. those who like Caster Semenya were undervirilised at birth, as a result of 5-ARD2, raised at female, and then were virilised at puberty due to the effects of T and SRD5A1
    3. those who were undervirilised at birth, raised as female, and remained undervirilised throughout life as a result of a completely failed androgen receptor (AR). Although amenorrhea and lack of breast development is typical for such individuals, which may lead them to discover that they have testes, since their body completely fails to respond to testosterone, they gain no benefit from it.
    4. a related group to #3, those whose AR is merely faulty. They process testosterone in some degree. Exactly how faulty their AR is is unquantifiable – it’s a subjective assessment of how masculine they look.

    So we have 4 groups of people who are legally women but all have XY chromosomes.

    It is apparently not an option to say ‘you can’t play’, and nor is it an option to say ‘like duh, of course people who grew up as male and are 6″ taller on average, are going to remain stronger than those who didn’t grow up with androgens’ (in the case of group 1). Instead we start from the presumption that la-la-la it’s all the same and that the onus is on the people trying to exclude people with testes from women’s sport, to prove that those testicular people have an advantage, not that the starting presumption is that they shouldn’t.

    So what the IAAF did is performed a study which showed that for events between 400m and 1500m, there was a correlation between female testosterone and performance.

    This study strikes me as dubious in that if the normal range for total testosterone for people without testes is 0.4-1.5 nmol/L, but there are athletes with testes competing, whose testosterone is in the range of 10-30 nmol/L, then it’s perfectly possible for there to be no advantage between 1.5 and 0.4, since both are still clearly small numbers in absolute terms, but going from 1.5 to 30 nmol/l, is clearly a different thing.

    After all we already know that testosterone is performance enhancing, and it’s the first drug down on the banned list.

    And if you have 50 athletes with ovaries all in the 0.4-1.5 range, and then 1 or 2 athletes with testes in the 10-30 range, then it strikes me that you should exclude the testicular athletes from the sample before making your analysis.

    I think it is rather silly, but let us not forget that the IAAF had been through multiple legal challenges to their rules, and they kept losing, so they wanted to make sure that this one stuck.

    By limiting it to specific events they went on to win their case.

    By contrast in the case of Dutee Chand they lost. So it’s not quite right that they’ve allowed athletes to compete without sanction.

    Rather what has happened is that over the decades numerous athletes have been subject to challenge. The end result of those challenges has tended to be the athletes winning.

    It does not follow from that that all possible challenges to intersex athletes in women’s sport should fail.

    Clearly one can distinguish the case of #3 above, the athletes who completely fail to process testosterone, from Caster Semenya, whose body processes testosterone normally, and merely has a somewhat faulty testosterone -> DHT conversion. In reality of course most of the athletes with faulty androgen receptors still process testosterone to some degree (group #4). It is well-known that such athletes are vastly overrepresented in female sport. However there is perhaps a conceptual difference between ‘overrepresented’ and ‘unstoppably dominant’. I.e. a woman in group #4 who is a highly undervirilised biological male cannot possibly achieve the level of dominance vis-a-vis women, that a normally virilised biological male could. In the Caster Semenya case, we do not know whether the range of athletic performance of people with 5-ARD2 is identical to the range of people with normal male biology, but it is possible that it is. In other words, if a world champion athlete in any sport needs to have, say, 1 in 1 million genetics, plus training, then given that:

    1. 5-ARD-2 is very rare
    2. 5-ARD-2 should always be assigned male at birth when identified at birth

    and if we consider that the performance curve for men is a bell curve similar to that for women, but to the right of it, such that the most genetically superior woman for a given sport may be at merely the 80th percentile for male genetics (obviously this will vary – for running the male performance advantage is perhaps 10%, whereas for weightlifting it is more like 30%), then it is rather likely that the curve of 5-ARD-2 is identical to that of ‘men’. If that is so, then it is not all that difficult for such individuals to dominate women’s sport.

    As far as the question of specifically other athletes continuing, I do not know whether Dutee Chand, who is a sprinter, is group 3 (CAIS) or group 4 (PAIS), however it’s likely to be PAIS rather than CAIS. And athletes with PAIS are required by the regulations to medically restrict testosterone, though these do not apply to the sprint.

    As a fairness issue, I would say that athletes who have produced & processed testosterone from their testes from puberty should not be allowed to compete, i.e. no McKinnon, and no Semenya. For those who did not proceess testosterone, or partly processed it, it’s a more difficult issue.

    People with functioning testes and working ARs, and hence normal endogenous male levels of testosterone during puberty, will normally develop a male gender identity. Both Semenya & McKinnon are in this category. Whether or not they actually identify as male or female seems to me a slightly ludicrous question, like whether they actually believe in God or not. It doesn’t really matter, give that there are people who say they identify as female, and yet have beards, etc., so the statement ‘I identify as female’ doesn’t have any single clear meaning.

    That is the problem in that we are not judging this by an objective external standard. Rachel Dolezal asserted that she was black, and while she was told that she was not, it is quite possible for someone to be some fraction black and look like she did. There is no possible way for a baby to be formed except between the combination of the strictly and exclusively binary division of male and female gametes, but race is a much looser grouping of people who look somewhat similar to each other. You can’t prove someone to be black by DNA testing, but yet you can quite easily prove that, for example, Rachel McKinnon has XY chromosomes, and no relevant DSD.

    TurnerGuy
    Member

    I read that 🙂

    good post

    kcr
    Member

    That’s not quite the full story…So we have 4 groups of people who are legally women but all have XY chromosomes.

    Of course it’s not the full story, and I think the detailed information you have posted demonstrates how complicated the story is. I think you’re still just scratching the surface, and there are a lot more than 4 groups of people involved in the issue.

    It is apparently not an option to say…

    I think every option is on the table until the authorities (and wider society) have a proper debate about how we classify sport. The only thing I’m reasonably confident about is that anyone who claims to have already devised a cast iron solution is probably wrong.

    easily
    Member

    @thelawnet

    I have never wanted a ‘like’ button more. That is an excellent post.

    thelawnet
    Member

    @Kcr, well of course there many different DSDs. But it does come down to trans (normal male biology, female gender identity), intersex (abnormal male biology, female gender identity), and simply ‘biological female’.

    As far as the IAAF is concerned, the intersex group does in fact break down as I said, i.e. those who have testes & to any extent process their testicular testosterone, and those who do not.

    They list:

    (i) she has one of the following DSDs:
    (A) 5α-reductase type 2 deficiency;
    (B) partial androgen insensitivity syndrome (PAIS);
    (C) 17β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 3 (17β- HSD3) deficiency;
    (D) ovotesticular DSD; or
    (E) any other genetic disorder involving disordered gonadal steroidogenesis;

    and
    (ii) as a result, she has circulating testosterone levels in blood of five (5) nmol/L or
    above;

    and
    (iii) she has sufficient androgen sensitivity for those levels of testosterone to have a
    material androgenising effect.

    These disorders are all different in exactly how they work – 17β-HSD3 is the specific isoenzyme responsible for converting androstenedione (A4) to testosterone (T) in the testes, so this gives people with testes and this disorder (there is a different 17β-HSD isoenzyme in the ovaries converting A4 to T there) lots of A4 and not enough T.

    This is clearly different from 5-ARD2, where you have all the T, but a shortage of DHT.

    An ovotesticular DSD is aka pseudohermaphroditism (true hermaphroditism does not exist in humans), where you have both ovarian and testicular tissue.

    While PAIS is the partial failure of the androgen receptor to process T.

    In terms of fairness in sport the division is really quite simple: men have testes producing lots of T, which is the #1 performance-enhancing steroid, while women have ovaries producing E, which restricts height (bad, generally, for sport), and increases body fat (also bad).

    There isn’t exactly a division other than that between the class of people with testes, and the class of people without testes. There’s no more nebulous concept such as ‘lady brain’, or chromosomes per se, or whatever, it comes down to testosterone and testes.

    So the IAAF have said to one particular group of people with testes who wish to compete in the group of people without testes, that they should restrict their testosterone to levels somewhat in the range of the group of people without testes.

    Given the major performance advantage offered by T, it does not seem to me that this is exactly unfair.

    We are not restricting Caster Semenya’s natural womanly biology, but simply paying some regard to the reality that before testicular testosterone kicks in, at puberty, girls might have some hope of beating boys in a race, while after several years of the testes pumping out pubertal levels (which are sub-adult, incidentally) of testosterone, they will have no hope left.

    It really is all about the balls, and the fact that where one participant has them and the other does not you have a very basic fairness issue, and one that doesn’t require any reference to ‘gender identity’, etc., just an observation, even, that those Eastern European athletes who were doped with what amount to testicular levels of T only as adults (i.e. not experiencing testicular T during puberty, as Semenya did), experienced such overwhelming advantages that current-day women stand no chance of beating their times.

    scotroutes
    Member

    Yep. STW in “expert answer to obscure question” success once again. The only thing I’d like to see added to that would be some idea of the number of people falling into each category. I’ve seen figures suggesting around 1.7% of the population not falling into the traditional male/female categories. That seems like a vast exaggeration, but maybe it’s correct?

    We are, however and as usual, veering off at a it a tangent to the RACHEL Mackinnon / Trans in general issue.

    @thelawnet – fascinating! Do you work in this field?

    endomick
    Member

    Mcj78, I think alexnharvey was trying to say that having testicles and miles more testosterone gives a blatantly obvious advantage that no amount of training if born female could of matched. Muscle mass, bone density, hip placement, lung structure etc all make it easier to push harder, the biology of the male body is just more powerful and more efficient at using that power. Those comments triggered a few people for that reason plus Robert Forstemann doesn’t race women so that’s irrelevant, playing devil’s advocate or not, you simply cannot reverse all those advantages or replicate them, thats why female to male never results in gold medals or any success, a female to male boxer or ufc fighter would get destroyed or die. But would any male athlete feel proud of beating the competition if it was made up of trans?

    thelawnet
    Member

    The only thing I’d like to see added to that would be some idea of the number of people falling into each category. I’ve seen figures suggesting around 1.7% of the population not falling into the traditional male/female categories. That seems like a vast exaggeration, but maybe it’s correct?

    This is not correct. Essentially all sex hormones start off as cholesterol, and they are converted using the P450scc (cholesterol side chain cleavage) enzyme into pregnenolone (P5). P5 is then converted down a chain to form all of oestrogen, testosterone, progesterone, cortisol, etc.

    The conversions take place in various parts of the body, but the P450scc does nearly all its work in the adrenal glands and in the gonads.

    Since the hormones are produced in a long and often reversible chain of reductions and oxidations, trouble at the top, so to speak, can result in dangerous (fatal even) hormonal imbalances.

    This is i.e. congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH). This fairly obviously refers to a congenital condition affecting the adrenal glands, and specifically any one of the several dozen enzymes responsible for one or more hormone conversions (e.g., testosterone into oestradiol).

    Essentially the different enzymes are linked to specific genes, so a mutation on one of those genes can lead to an hormonal imbalance. The most common form of CAH is due to a mutation in the gene associated with the 21-hydroxylase enzyme, which causes the oxidation of progesterones into corticosteroids. The other pathway for progesterones is to be reduced, creating the androgen A4, which is reduced to T, which is reduced to the androgen DHT.

    So essentially because the circulating hormones are not being converted into corticosteroids, they instead end up being converted into androgens instead.

    Those androgens androgenize (duh), resulting in an over-virilised girl (no visible effect on boys’ genitals, but the lack of corticosteroids causes a sodium imbalance).

    Except that CAH is considered to either be ‘classical’ or ‘late-onset’.

    The classical form is subject to screening, since it is life-threatening. Hormonal medication will address the imbalance. Since it is manifested at birth, classical CAH is considered an ‘intersex’ condition for girls only, in that androgens may have virilized their genitals to create ambiguous or apparently maculine genitals. In some cases surgery is performed on infant girls with classical CAH to reduce the size of genitals. This is controversial as it is likely to cause sexual dysfunction. However not all intersex surgeries are cosmetic, as some are done for basic urinary function.

    In any case, classical CAH is very rare, what is much more common is late-onset CAH. This only becomes apparent at a later date. This is NOT an intersex condition, since it is not manifested at birth, even if it is congenital. The overwhelming majority of the 1.7% figure quoted are cases of late-onset CAH, and the average age at presentation is 24.

    Since what we are talking about here is a girl or woman with an excess of testosterone manifesting itself long after birth, which should, uncontroversially, be treated by hormonal medication in order to correct the hormonal imbalance, it is quite wrong to imply that such a person is not in the traditional male/female category.

    A related fact is that many adult women have excess testosterone referred to as PCOS, which can cause bearded ladies, etc., the cause of this is not completely clear but essentially oestrogens are directly synthesised via androgens etc. in the ovaries, while enzymes converting to testosterone are also found in other parts of the body, notably fat, so it is possible to end up with a high testosterone level. Women with ovarian cancers unsurprisingly can end up with high testosterone levels as well, though nothing like Caster Semenya’s level.

    PCOS/ovarian cancer are in no sense ‘not female’, since they express themselves in adult women. There are however cases of women with PCOS/high testosterone (which as implied is an adult/post-pubescent issue) who say that their gender identity is transmale.

    There is no evidence for hormonal disorders such as CAH and PCOS being of any benefit to women in sporting terms.

    There are lots of other disorders of sexual development, i.e. cases where people have different genes or chromosomes in their sexual makeup. These are things like having only an X chromosome, XXY chromosomes, XXYY chromosomes, and so on. None of these are in any sense ‘not male’ or ‘not female’, any more than someone with Down’s syndrome is not male or not female as a result of an extra 21st chromosome. Such chromosomal disorders are actually quite straight forward – if you have any Y chromosome, you are male, and if you do not have any Y chromosome you are female.

    That is because foetal development has a female default – if the gene, found on the Y chromosome, SRY, that is the switch for male development is not present, then the foetus will continue on the female pathway.

    The process of spermatogenesis is similar to that of oogenesis in that you have splitting and rejoining of chromosomal pairs, i.e. ‘identical’ chromosomes. BUT whereas women have two Xes, which crossover with each other perfectly, men have an X and a Y, and X is much longer than Y, so they do not crossover.

    Despite this there is a small region that is common to both X and Y, so this genetic material, at least, can be swapped over, and it just happens that the SRY gene is immediately adjacent to this region on the Y chromosome. So when the sperm are formed, there is a tiny possibility that the SRY gene ends up in an X sperm, rather than a Y sperm. When that X sperm meets the egg (which is X, obviously), then you have XX with an SRY gene.

    This will result in an XX male, who has a working penis.

    This is considered ‘intersex’ in the true sense in that it represents a difference between the chromosomal sex and phenotypic sex (i.e. the genitals and other sexual characteristics)

    The opposite of this of course is where you have XY with no SRY gene, for similar reasons, and this will result in a female phenotype at birth. XY,SRY- is slightly worse than XX,SRY+ in that XX,SRY+ has male gonads producing some testosterone, while XY,SRY- has neutran gonads, which produce neither T nor E.

    An XY female due to SRY- (there are other genes involved in sex determination found on other chromosomes that can also fail resulting in a similar outcome) will take oestrogen at puberty and again this is just common sense because you have someone with a full set of female genitalia including cervix, uterus, vagina, etc.

    The other major true intersex condition is complete androgen insensitivity. This is quite different from XY SRY-, because the presence of SRY causes anti-Mullerian hormone (which is not a steroid) to be expressed, regressing the Mullerian duct, which would otherwise develop into the internal parts of the female anatomy (everything above the outer part of the vagina). In the case of CAIS, it is the genetic failure of the androgen receptor which results in a body which cannot process androgens, and whose external genitals will not be virilised, appearing female.

    The case of CAIS is again a difference between phenotype and genotype, but it’s not ‘intersex as a sex’: people with CAIS appear female, though again they should take oestrogen at puberty.

    There are other cases sometimes referred to as ‘intersex’ – there are various forms of vaginal agenesis where the top part of the vagina does not develop. This may include all the Mullerian structures, i.e. no womb, etc. However a woman with missing Mullieran structures still has a vagina, ovaries, breasts, normal female oestrogen, no testes, and she does not appear anything other than female.

    In no sense is here sex ‘intersex’, she is quite simply and unequivocally female, just as an infertile woman is.

    There are other conditions most obviously so-called pseudohermaphroditism, where people have both ovarian tissue and testicular tissue. This is extremely rare and in no case do humans produce both sperm and eggs, however depending on specific, extremely rare conditions it may be genuinely difficult to determine whether an individual should be raised as male or female. Such cases are vanishingly rare, however.

    As with Semenya et al it is quite possible for children to be born with ambiguous genitalia, but that does not make them ‘not male’ necessarily – if you identified that a child had 5-ARD2 at birth then you would raise them male, just as you would if they were born with normal male genitalia.

    The difficulty can be to an extent if screening is not done at birth – there was a rather dubious doctor who did research on children with pseudohermaphroditism, and he believed that gender was purely socially assigned.

    When he came across a baby who had had his penis chopped off in a circumcision accident, he was delighted and set about affirming this child as female. Unfortunately this involved sex games with his twin brother, and both children met an early death by suicide and alcoholism respectively. But anyway, the bad Dr., Dr. Money, was not completely wrong, in that if you raise a child as female despite biology which suggests they should be raised male (or vice versa), then that is going to influence their gender identity. So you can have the situation where you have people who are raised as female, and are perhaps ‘confused’ (reporting later that they preferred taking part in ‘boy activities’, etc.), as with Erika Schinegger, later Erik, who was disqualified from women’s skiing in 1967 after he was found to have a DSD that we would today assign as male. He subsequently had surgery, fathered children and gave his gold medal to the second-place candidate. In other words, while Erika/Erik, as Mary/Mark Weston was perhaps confused while growing up as to why he (then she) felt attraction to women, etc., the penny never dropped for them that they had internal testes, until it was discovered medically.

    Anyway, the best estimate for ‘true intersex’ I have seen is 0.018%. This is the 1.7%, minus the cases such as X, XXYY, XXY, etc. chromosomes. (none of which result in a different phenotype to the standard XX and XY), the missing Mullerian structures (female), and the late-onset CAH (which in men is obviously not even a DSD, as male T is already high).

    It should be made clear that intersex children are raised always as either male or female – there is no ‘intersex’ or ‘non-binary’ gender. To the extent that ‘non-binary’ is a thing, it seems to refer to adults who do not wish to comply with sex-based stereotypes.

    poah
    Member

    This is someone who was born a male, went through puberty as a male, trained and raced as a male. At a later date identified as a female and transitioned

    male and female are sex determinations. A human can’t change from being male to female.

    scotroutes
    Member

    LOL – I was just about to post that 😁

    Premier Icon crazy-legs
    Subscriber

    Re that case above ^^. Cricket allows men to simply “self-declare” with no limit on testosterone levels unless you’re playing in national competition.

    Quite apart from it being unfair in a sporting context, I do wonder what the biological women think of their changing rooms and showers being used by, essentially, biological men.

    I think the whole transgender policy needs an urgent overhaul before women are sitting on the bench watching their sport being played by “men”.

    Premier Icon somafunk
    Subscriber

    Max needs a hard kick in the balls and told to **** off otherwise it rips the piss out of genuine female players trying to compete, and those that gave the award need to **** off as well

    Premier Icon chakaping
    Subscriber

    I think the whole transgender policy needs an urgent overhaul before women are sitting on the bench watching their sport being played by “men”.

    There does seem to be an unusual level of agreement here and in the wider world that it needs a bit of common sense applied.

    I think it will happen, but as I said previously on this thread – it will likely be awkward and unpleasant getting there.

    Re that case above

    When he plays for the Chesham 2nd XI men’s team, he averages 13.1
    When she plays for Kent women’s county team, she averages 104.8

    Markie
    Member

    Everyone involved in making that decision should be ashamed.

    kittyr
    Member

    I have been absolutely heartened to see such a strong support for women’s sport on this thread. It is so hard to women to to defend women only sport categories, changing rooms, other spaces etc without being branded ‘transphobic’. We need the support of men to do so.

    I believe that everyone has the right to live as they please, free from persecution, people should dress how they like, be called whatever name and pronoun they like etc and do so without prejudice. What they don’t have the right to do, is erode women’s rights and deny biological reality.

    I also hate the conflation of gender/sex and find the trans agenda dangerously pushes harmful gender steryotyoes such that you can’t be a girl that likes climbing trees and football… you must be really a boy!

    There are undeniable physical advantages to being born male and going through male puberty.

    It is almost a universally accepted true that that separating male and female sports categories on the basis of sex is a good thing.

    M>F trans athletes have no place competing in female category sports. Hurt feelings are not more important than integrity.

    Taking hormone treatment to bring down male testosterone levels as an adult still isn’t enough to ‘become female’ given the physical advantages of male puberty.

    Everyone should compete in the category for which sex they were born as.

    The mental gymnastics that people go through to justify why it’s ok for a person born a man to compete against women based on this persons *feeling* of feeling like a women, is quite frankly, ludicrous.

    Premier Icon dissonance
    Subscriber

    this persons *feeling* of feeling like a women, is quite frankly, ludicrous.

    I am not sure it is so simple. I dont think unless you fall into that category you are able to understand it fully. I know its something I dont have any real frame of reference for but I think its a tad stronger than “feeling”.

    Overall it is a horrendously complex area which I am really glad I dont have to try and understand fully and make decisions which will impact others.

    tjagain
    Member

    Thanks for those really informative posts from thelawnet

    . I am going to have to read them several times to get the full thing

    To me the whole thing is horrendously complex and also two different things get conflated. those with developmental abnormalities and those without who identify as other than their genetic sex. the two are very different and should be treated differently

    Semanya I feel really sorry for. The sporting bodies have made a real mess of it and made it look like they are singling her out rather than really trying to address the general issues.

    thelawnet

    can you confirm? I have read that women with development oddities like Semanya are hundreds of times more prevalent in womens sport than in the general population? Ie significant numbers of female atheletes are actually getting benefit from raised testosterone levels

    scotroutes
    Member

    I have been absolutely heartened to see such a strong support for women’s sport on this thread. It is so hard to women to to defend women only sport categories, changing rooms, other spaces etc without being branded ‘transphobic’. We need the support of men to do so.

    I think many men have resisted becoming embroiled in this on the basis that “it doesn’t concern us” and I also think it has taken sporting issues to finally make men realise some of what is at stake here. There has certainly been a bit of a sea-change on this (mostly male) forum since the last time this topic was discussed too.

    Premier Icon batfink
    Subscriber

    I’ve just read this thread, trying to think of a way of expressing my own thoughts on the matter, and I find myself agreeing almost completely with Kittyr

    I believe that everyone has the right to live as they please, free from persecution, people should dress how they like, be called whatever name and pronoun they like etc and do so without prejudice. What they don’t have the right to do, is erode women’s rights and deny biological reality.

    I also hate the conflation of gender/sex and find the trans agenda dangerously pushes harmful gender steryotyoes such that you can’t be a girl that likes climbing trees and football… you must be really a boy!

    That last part is where I think “we” have collectively lost our minds on this debate – there seems to be a new popular belief emerging that if you are a female that likes things that society dictates are for men….. then maybe you have something wrong with you, you should take a truckload of supplements and have everyone treat you as an exception. You can love women, wear trousers, cut your hair short, play videogames, ride motorbikes, have tatoos, drink pints etc etc…. and still be a woman. And vice-versa for men. It’s our labeling of those things as gender-specific that is the problem. All those things are just societal norms – and is exactly what we should be putting in the bin.

    Instead, we are binning-off the useful distinctions between male and female, in favour of the useless ones.

Viewing 40 posts - 161 through 200 (of 283 total)

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.