Since the debut of Caster Semenya in the world of sports, it has led to the formulation of controversial arguments and debates on gender in sports. In return, this has led to the formulation of policies that subject women runners suffering from hyperandrogenism to hormone reducing medication, in a bid to make women competitions to be fair and justifiable(Camporesi,2017).
One of my reactions to the policy mentioned above is that I cannot entirely agree with this notion. Sex and gender tend to be a broad and complicated concept and usually a problem in establishing its exact meanings and differences. Ross (2016) asserts that sex tends to be biological, while gender is more social. Secondly, the concept of subjecting women runners suffering from hyperandrogenism with hormone reducing medication tends to be discriminating. Typically, women have two X chromosomes. However, research shows that there are individuals with X and Y chromosomes who live a healthy life as women (Camporesi,2017). Besides,the concept brings stigma and ruins the careers of promising runners, which is not justifiable. An example of such a runner who endured shame was Maria Jose Martinez after IAAF identified that she had high testosterone levels as compared to other women. The IAAF subjected her to using the hormone, reducing medication to reduce her testosteronelevels. Consequently, this policy affected her negatively, thus undermining her career. (Camporesi,2017).
Nevertheless, not all people may agree with my notion. Critics to my argument argue that the presence of women runners like Semenya exhibiting male attributes is justifiable to them in considering Semenya as a male runner(Camporesi,2017). Secondly, the critics also assert that the concept of allowing women runners suffering from hyperandrogenism to compete with their counterparts is unfair. Critics argue in the context that high testosterone gives one advantage during competitions (Camporesi,2017).
Thirdly, another argument is that for women runners such as Semenya to be allowed to compete, rather than reducing their testosterone levels, they should suppress it, they should opt-in undergoing androgen -suppression therapy, which limits the impacts of testosterone (Camporesi,2017). Moreover, the critics also argue that due to the affected runners exhibiting male attributes, it would be prudent for them to be allowed to compete with their male counterparts, which is not a feasible undertaking (Camporesi,2017). Lastly, they argue that in differentiating, male and female genders, women’s bodies should be carefully checked and controlled by critical stakeholders in sports(Camporesi,2017).
In conclusion, of the five arguments presented by the supporters, I concur with only one case. would be ideal in suppressing the impacts of testosterone rather than reducing it. It would be suitable for women runners suffering from hyperandrogenism to undergo androgen -suppression therapy. I believe that this would be beneficial for them in continuing their careers and enable them to look and live as women.
Camporesi, S. (2017). Sports culture binds us to gender binaries. This is unfair – Silvia Camporesi | Aeon Essays. Retrieved 29 February 2020, from https://aeon.co/essays/sports-culture-binds-us-to-gender-binaries-this-is-unfair
Ross. (2016). Hyperandrogenism and women vs. women vs. men in sport: A Q&A with Joanna Harper | The Science of Sport. Retrieved 29 February 2020, from https://sportsscientists.com/2016/05/hyperandrogenism-women-vs-women-vs-men-sport-qa-joanna-harper/
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