The Journal of Sex Research (Intersex Athletes)

The Journal of Sex Research focuses on the major issue of intersex athletes (or DSDs Disorders of sex development) and their struggle to find a place within sport.  Cooky and Dworkin bring up many interesting points related to both male and female sports but to me most interestingly the double standards that exists in testing hormone levels singling out female athletes specifically intersex athletes in professional sport.

Reading about the specifics of female PED/gender testing it is clear that females specifically intersex athletes are singled out.  If a man has an increased androgen level it is normal, it is considered natural of the human body, however if a female is found to have an increased testosterone level it is an unfair advantage for them and considered cheating.  With this in mind I ask is it really fair for intersex athletes to be banned, disqualified, or discriminated against in sport?

Personally I do not believe intersex athletes should be banned, disqualified, or discriminated against in sport based off human genetics.  As we know the human body both male and female is unique, each human is different from another giving each person certain characteristics dominant to certain possibilities.  If sport was all about being equal, some athletes could be disqualified for their height as it gives them advantages in sports such as basketball, volleyball, high jump, etc.  This is not the case though because height differences among humans are more common in society compared to intersex humans making height differences acceptable in sport.  Hypothetically though they are both genetic advantages in the right situation.  Realistically though no one is born an athlete it takes years of training at the top level to succeed and still success is hard to come by.  It is the hard work that the athlete puts into training that makes the difference, not the genetics of the intersex athletes.

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One Response to The Journal of Sex Research (Intersex Athletes)

  1. nickbutts says:

    I agree with you statement that intersex athletes should be treated as equals. All humans are created differently with different advantages and disadvantages, that’s just life. Perhaps you could argue that an intersex athlete might be at a disadvantage in the modelling industry but it just so happens that their abnormality is an advantage in sports. If you start to discriminate against intersex athletes what sort of message does that send to teenage kids who are going through the same thing? We must view intersex athletes as athletes with a genetic advantage just as we would view a basketball player who is 7’6 tall or a sprinter who sports an abnormally high amount of fast twitch muscle fibres.

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