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The Tricky Science of Olympic Gender Testing

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the if-it-walks-like-a-duck dept.

Medicine 559

First time accepted submitter erdos-bacon sandwich writes "Gender tests may be the most controversial obstacle the athletes face. The London Games tries a new approach based on testosterone. Of all the obstacles athletes have had to overcome to compete in the Olympics, perhaps the most controversial has been the gender test. Originally designed to prevent men from competing in women's events, it is based on the premise that competitors can be sorted into two categories via established scientific rules. But the biological boundaries of gender aren't always clear."

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Is that a man or a woman? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40852979)

Answer: yes.

Re:Is that a man or a woman? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40853033)

Trouble is, sometimes the answer is no.

Re:Is that a man or a woman? (3, Interesting)

drinkydoh (2658743) | more than 2 years ago | (#40853131)

That's true. Theravada Buddhism agrees that there are more than two genders. SEA is area with prominently open approach to ladyboys (transponders) and people who do not want to be the gender they were born with.

However, you must also understand that some (most? I'm not that clear on the subject) don't believe to be women. They don't believe to be men either. They believe they're 'third' gender.

And they should have the right to be.

Re:Is that a man or a woman? (5, Funny)

drkim (1559875) | more than 2 years ago | (#40853271)

SEA is area with prominently open approach to ladyboys (transponders)

My ladyboy usually squawks 7000.

Re:Is that a man or a woman? (1)

drinkydoh (2658743) | more than 2 years ago | (#40853433)

Heh, that happens every time with OS X's spellchecker. Wonder why it doesn't know the word transgenders.

Re:Is that a man or a woman? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40853677)

Faggoty OS doesn't recognize faggoty words. Faggot irony to the max.

Re:Is that a man or a woman? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40853283)

Except categories in sports are defined by sex not gender so what they believe to be does not matter when it comes to decide in which category they can compete.

Re:Is that a man or a woman? (4, Informative)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | more than 2 years ago | (#40853185)

Trouble is, sometimes the answer is no.

... and sometimes, the answer is "both"...

Re:Is that a man or a woman? (1)

thoughtspace (1444717) | more than 2 years ago | (#40853275)

Trouble is, sometimes the answer is no.

... and sometimes, the answer is "both"...

Yep, that was an inclusive-or.

Is it true that Chinese girl pass all drug tests? (-1, Offtopic)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | more than 2 years ago | (#40853041)

I am talking about that 16 year old Chinese girl, Ye Shiwen, who broke a world record in swimming competition, resulting in a respected American swimming coach John Leonard, who also happen to be the US executive director of the World Swimming Coaches Association, said that Chinese girl must have been using "genetic manipulation" to enhance athletic performance
 
Is it true that the Chinese girl has passed all the drug testing?
 
Is it true that she is clean?
 

Re:Is it true that Chinese girl pass all drug test (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40853075)

Getting out the swimming pool is much like getting out a bath. She's clean.

Re:Is it true that Chinese girl pass all drug test (1)

jampola (1994582) | more than 2 years ago | (#40853377)

Considering the population of PRC is over 1.3b, you can't always assume that foul play is at hand (excuse the pun)

Another American has accused her of cheating (3, Interesting)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | more than 2 years ago | (#40853527)

http://news.discovery.com/adventure/ye-shiwen-doping-scandal-olympic-swimming-120801.html [discovery.com]

Jonathan Dugas, adjunct professor of exercise physiology at Loyola University in Chicago, has openly doubt the Chinese girl's achievement being "natural"

And this is what Mr. Dugas has said:

"âoeThe differences in the athletes at that level are very small,â Dugas said. âoeTo suggest she was much slower and then sped up so much at the end, it goes against everything that we know about how athletes pace themselves at that level.â
 

Re:Is it true that Chinese girl pass all drug test (2, Insightful)

Carewolf (581105) | more than 2 years ago | (#40853415)

Because Chinese athletes beating US ones must be due to China having access to advanced future technology, because there is no way they could beat americans otherwise? No, wait, what?

Re:Is it true that Chinese girl pass all drug test (5, Informative)

samkass (174571) | more than 2 years ago | (#40853539)

Because Chinese athletes beating US ones must be due to China having access to advanced future technology, because there is no way they could beat americans otherwise? No, wait, what?

That's not why people suspect it. She beat her own best time by five seconds, which is unheard of in swimming which is the only sport measured to the thousand-of-a-second. She also beat the previous world record by one second which was made with the now-banned super-swimsuit. She could have had a really, really good day, and good for her, but I can see why some other team's coaches might, in their frustration, suspect something else is going on.

Re:Is it true that Chinese girl pass all drug test (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40853685)

Swimming is the only sport measured to thousands? Get real! (Posting anon because I have modded)

Re:Is it true that Chinese girl pass all drug test (1)

1s44c (552956) | more than 2 years ago | (#40853425)

I am talking about that 16 year old Chinese girl, Ye Shiwen, who broke a world record in swimming competition, resulting in a respected American swimming coach John Leonard, who also happen to be the US executive director of the World Swimming Coaches Association, said that Chinese girl must have been using "genetic manipulation" to enhance athletic performance

What is "Genetic manipulation"? Is this guy seriously suggesting the Chinese geneticly engineered Ye Shiwen just to win swimming medals?

Re:Is it true that Chinese girl pass all drug test (1)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | more than 2 years ago | (#40853491)

http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/olympics-2012/china-ye-shiwen-shatters-record-waves-suspicion-article-1.1126250 [nydailynews.com]

And I quote Mr. Leonard :

"If there is something unusual going on in terms of genetic manipulation or something else, I would suspect over eight years science will move fast enough to catch it ...â
 

Re:Is that a man or a woman? (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 2 years ago | (#40853133)

Really tho, it's only funny due to a plethora of mislabeled porn.

Overcomplicating things? (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40852981)

I always figured a gender test involved dropping your breeches in front of a doctor. How does that not cover it? If you have a vagnia but too much testosterone, you should be competing with the fellas?

Re:Overcomplicating things? (3, Insightful)

Gwala (309968) | more than 2 years ago | (#40852999)

Well, intersexed persons make a bit of a mess of that. Since you can have both sets physical features in various strengths in some people. That's been where the biggest controversies have come up in recent history.

Re:Overcomplicating things? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40853005)

Surgical procedures and drugs can effect these. Checking the chromosome might work until you find someone with a missing piece.... I don't know how rare this is... but I have heard of it.

Re:Overcomplicating things? (5, Informative)

jamesh (87723) | more than 2 years ago | (#40853437)

Checking the chromosome might work until you find someone with a missing piece

AIS throws that out the window... genetically a male but somewhat or completely (depending on the degree) insensitive to the androgen that would give them the male characteristics leaving them in the default female form.

Re:Overcomplicating things? (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 2 years ago | (#40853195)

Re-read TFA. If you have a vagina and too much testosterone, the most common reason (other than doping) is androgen insensitivity. That makes the eliminates all effect of the testosterone such that it might as well not be there.

Re:Overcomplicating things? (1)

Jesrad (716567) | more than 2 years ago | (#40853445)

No, the most common reason would be congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia, which does NOT eliminate the effect of testosterone (quite the opposite).

Oversimplifying things? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40853261)

Stick to tech, fella, biology ain't your thing.

sex test? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40853003)

Aren't we really talking about a sex test? A gender test might identify me as sissy. But not Male or Female -thats my sex....

How hard can it be? (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40853015)

XX = Woman
XY = Man

Re:How hard can it be? (5, Informative)

oiron (697563) | more than 2 years ago | (#40853023)

RTFA!

Consider the Spanish hurdler Maria Jose Martinez-Patiño. A gender test revealed that she had a Y chromosome, which normally makes a person male. She also had complete androgen insensitivity syndrome, or CAIS, which prevented her body from responding properly to testosterone and caused her to develop as a woman.

It's not as simple as you'd think...

Re:How hard can it be? (5, Interesting)

AmiMoJo (196126) | more than 2 years ago | (#40853089)

Some sports are all about genetic abnormalities. Bolt's genetic material must be quite unusual for him to go that fast.

Re:How hard can it be? (5, Insightful)

Pseudonym (62607) | more than 2 years ago | (#40853129)

This is they key point. "Freaks of nature" are over-represented in the elite athlete community already. That's part of what makes them elite. Why should abnormalities related to sex chromosomes or hormones be any different?

Re:How hard can it be? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40853203)

This is they key point. "Freaks of nature" are over-represented in the elite athlete community already. That's part of what makes them elite. Why should abnormalities related to sex chromosomes or hormones be any different?

They need to talk about it now, before science advances and technology exists to mainipulate genetic material to create such freaks.. I guess for the olympics to continue into the future, they will have to declare a norm that is allowed to compete and if you are outside of that, then sorry but you will be excluded. I think that it is unfortunate for them, but those athletes of dubious genetics (Caster Semenya) or those who can only compete with mechanical aids (Oscar Pistorius) should definitely be excluded. I'm not sure about those borderline cases like Usain Bolt who supposedly has a higher leg/body length ratio which may help; perhaps that should be regulated too.

Re:How hard can it be? (5, Interesting)

quantaman (517394) | more than 2 years ago | (#40853395)

This is they key point. "Freaks of nature" are over-represented in the elite athlete community already. That's part of what makes them elite. Why should abnormalities related to sex chromosomes or hormones be any different?

Say you had separate a basketball event for people under 6 feet tall.

Than anyone in that event who seemed to have excess height would need to be carefully tested.

As it is we have separate events for men and women.

So any woman who gets too close to the line defining male needs to be carefully tested.

And make no mistake, you need to draw that line somewhere, and where ever you draw it there are going to be people who straddle it.

Re:How hard can it be? (4, Interesting)

rve (4436) | more than 2 years ago | (#40853469)

Some sports are all about genetic abnormalities. Bolt's genetic material must be quite unusual for him to go that fast.

This is a rather fatalistic misconception about talent. Bolt is as fast as he is, not because of some lucky draw in the gene pool, but because of proper training and starting at a young age. He wasn't born with his perfect technique, he got that through training. Of course you have to be healthy and have a bit of luck as well, and the right mix of fast and slow twitch muscles for your sport, but for every kind of mix of the two there's a sport to excel in.

Re:How hard can it be? (1)

ynp7 (1786468) | more than 2 years ago | (#40853473)

It's not his genetic material, it's the McNuggets for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Re:How hard can it be? (-1)

RightSaidFred99 (874576) | more than 2 years ago | (#40853213)

It can be. Still a man, has Y chromosome. See how easy that was?

Re:How hard can it be? (1)

TheSeatOfMyPants (2645007) | more than 2 years ago | (#40853613)

Except that a body that has spent its entire life being female will still have certain "female" physical weaknesses, including being weaker/slower than men at an equivalent athletic level.

Obfix: get rid of gender categories (4, Interesting)

rve (4436) | more than 2 years ago | (#40853429)

The only catch all, fool proof and totally fair fix for this is the simplest of all: get rid of men's and women's events, and let both compete in the same event. Maybe add performance based tiers instead, so the very best women will mostly compete with guys (and lose, because, you know, testosterone really does work) and the second tier guys will be mostly competing against the best women (and win, again the testosterone thing). Ok, in most sports, women wouldn't get to compete at the highest level any more, but it would be completely fair towards the non-standard gender community!

Re:How hard can it be? (5, Interesting)

cstacy (534252) | more than 2 years ago | (#40853035)

XX = Woman XY = Man

Gender is not what they want to test for, it is a PROXY for what they want to test for.
This is not a technology problem, and it's not even about genitalia.
It's about a definition of fairness, and that's harder to elaborate.

RTFA: What about XXY (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40853181)

XX = Woman XY = Man

Fail! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/XXY [wikipedia.org]

Re:RTFA: What about XXY (0)

RightSaidFred99 (874576) | more than 2 years ago | (#40853221)

Not a fail. XXY = Man.

Re:RTFA: What about XXY (0)

lister king of smeg (2481612) | more than 2 years ago | (#40853319)

if cell contains "y"
then cell = male
else
cell = female

hormone concentration and hormonal tolerances don't really mater it is decided by you genes primarily and food/lifestyle (or hypodermic needle).
what gentiles you have does not really mater either they can either be cut off or sewn on.

Re:How hard can it be? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40853259)

Fairness in the Olympics. Pffft. Its all about winning. That's all that counts - as in any commercialized sports activity.

Re:How hard can it be? (1, Insightful)

asifyoucare (302582) | more than 2 years ago | (#40853617)

Just banning anyone with a Y chromosome from women's events would probably work fine. What percentage of oddball cases are we talking - less than 1% I bet. Corner cases could use the women's change-rooms but would have to compete against men.

Re:How hard can it be? (1)

hawguy (1600213) | more than 2 years ago | (#40853175)

XX = Woman
XY = Man

You missed a few:

XYY [wikipedia.org]
XXY [wikipedia.org]
XXYY [wikipedia.org]

Re:How hard can it be? (-1)

RightSaidFred99 (874576) | more than 2 years ago | (#40853225)

He overcomplicated. Rule would be "If you have a Y chromosome, you are male."

Re:How hard can it be? (5, Informative)

HungryHobo (1314109) | more than 2 years ago | (#40853339)

Still no good.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SRY [wikipedia.org]

You can have a Y chromosome which lacks a gene or 2 and be physically totally female.

or you can have 2 X chromosomes and be physically totally male but with a part of a Y chromosome copied on to one or both of the X's

or you can have a mix within your body with half your cells one way and half the other.

consider the posibility that *you* simply lack understanding before declaring that someone else is overcomplicating things. some things really are more complex than the "childrens first science book" version.

Re:How hard can it be? (3, Funny)

king neckbeard (1801738) | more than 2 years ago | (#40853243)

Don't forget YYZ [wikipedia.org]

Re:How hard can it be? (4, Funny)

narcc (412956) | more than 2 years ago | (#40853583)

Let's not forget XYZZY [wikipedia.org]

Re:How hard can it be? (1)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 2 years ago | (#40853361)

Still too complex. Events should be "women" and "other" and presence of a Y chromosome define you as non-woman, regardless of what your genitalia are or anything else (XXY, XXYY, etc.). Call the "other" group "mens" for historical reasons. But exclude anyone not clearly and obviously female from the "women's" group.

Re:How hard can it be? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40853411)

Why have 2 groups in the first place?

Re:How hard can it be? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40853487)

In any sport where strength matters at all the women are going to get trounced. Are you fucking stupid?

Re:How hard can it be? (5, Insightful)

Jesrad (716567) | more than 2 years ago | (#40853463)

Oh yes, how hard can it be...

Check one:
[ XX ] Woman
[ XY ] Man

What if I'm XXY (Klinefelter Syndrome) ? What if I'm just X (Turner Syndrome) ? What if I'm XX but SR-Y positive due to gene translocation ? What if I'm XY but Completely Androgen Insensitive (CAIS) ?
What if some of my cells are XY, but the others are X, or XX, or XXY (mosaicism and chimerism, sometimes combiend with the syndromes above, see the famous case of Lydia Fairchild for a primer) ? Do we decide sex on the cells' majority+1 ? Or should part of my body compete in the Mens' races, and the other part in Womens' ?

Confusing terminology (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40853025)

TFA makes a bit of a mess of it by consistently using the term "gender" where they are really talking about "sex". Gender is what your head feels you are, sex is what the body makes you. There is absolutely no rule against a physically female athlete participating in a women's race if she phychologically identifies herself as male. The latter is gender, the former sex.

Re:Confusing terminology (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40853149)

No... gender is a linguistics term... sex is biological.

Re:Confusing terminology (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40853189)

+1 informative. People seem to use the gender far too when they mean sex, often because it is believed to be the more politically correct term. But as parent explained, the are two different things.

Re:Confusing terminology (4, Informative)

spazdor (902907) | more than 2 years ago | (#40853323)

There is absolutely no rule against a physically female athlete participating in a women's race if he phychologically identifies himself as male.

ftfy: perhaps olympic races are sexed, but English pronouns are gendered. :)

Simple, surely (-1)

countach (534280) | more than 2 years ago | (#40853093)

Call me old fashioned, but I think being born with a penis, as opposed to ovaries ought to be the test.

Re:Simple, surely (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40853107)

You're not old fashioned, just uninformed.

Re:Simple, surely (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40853117)

I suspect that's only one of many things we could call you...

But seriously, read the article! Physical genital characteristics do not determine gender or some of the other physical advantages of male characteristics (which can be present even without male genitalia)

It's not a rhetorical question. Though most people fall neatly into "male" and "female" categories, some do not. The fact that there are people with physical or genetic traits of both sexes prompted the IOC to rethink its gender test.

Re:Simple, surely (1)

jaymemaurice (2024752) | more than 2 years ago | (#40853197)

But I think the point is that it shouldn't matter anyway.

Even if you have someone who is an XY female dominating the other females in her class, how is that any different then a runner who is 2' taller and thereby faster then his shorter competitors. Should the olympics be about fairness or the best amature atheletes competing?! Are they going to sort them all by size weight and muscel?!

Re:Simple, surely (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40853289)

They already do in boxing/judo/weightlifting/etc.

Re:Simple, surely (1)

ynp7 (1786468) | more than 2 years ago | (#40853505)

Crawl out from under that rock, the Olympics haven't been about amateur athletes in a long time.

Re:Simple, surely (1)

phagstrom (451510) | more than 2 years ago | (#40853135)

And those who have neither or both will just have to join a circus instead, I guess.

Re:Simple, surely (2)

ynp7 (1786468) | more than 2 years ago | (#40853499)

I could go for an old fashioned right about now.

Chimaeras must be tough (2)

G3ckoG33k (647276) | more than 2 years ago | (#40853101)

Chimaeras (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chimera_%28genetics%29) must be tough.

First as athletes

Second for the gender test

Having every other cell mixed at random shouldn't be all that fun in the long run

Why seperate competions by gender anyway? (0, Troll)

tempmpi (233132) | more than 2 years ago | (#40853119)

No matter how much I would train, I and 99.9% of the population wouldn't stand a chance at Olympia for genetic reasons. No matter if your genetics give you less than perfect endurance, reaction times or muscular strength, you will not get a medal at Olympia. People with genetics better suited for the discipline will get the medals. Nobody is going to hold a separate contest for people with less than optimal muscular strength or stuff like that. Even through white runners did not stand a chance against black runners, there is not going to be a olympia medal for the fastest non-black runner. Why should we make a difference for women? If they don't stand a chance against men, why should they get a medal?

Re:Why seperate competions by gender anyway? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40853151)

What's "olympia"? The plural of "olympium"?

Re:Why seperate competions by gender anyway? (2)

aevan (903814) | more than 2 years ago | (#40853179)

I thought it was what Heracles yelled at the end of each cartoon.

Re:Why seperate competions by gender anyway? (1)

mellyra (2676159) | more than 2 years ago | (#40853607)

What's "olympia"? The plural of "olympium"?

Olympia is the place where the first olypmics were carried out and what the olympics are called in my languages.

Re:Why seperate competions by gender anyway? (5, Interesting)

Eskarel (565631) | more than 2 years ago | (#40853199)

The reason is that, at least in theory, the Olympic games are about the effort and discipline it takes to get to the elite level than about genetics. Throwing out the hard work of women because they are biologically different(most specifically this relates to the structure of their hips, though other factors certainly play a part) doesn't fit that spirit.

Now you can argue that the Olympics are won largely by genetic freaks, and there's no Olympics for the "normals", but that's really rather beside the point, because the genetics won't give you the whole puzzle. It's true that if you or I spent as many hours training as Bolt we likely still wouldn't even be able to qualify for the Olympics, but simultaneously if all Bolt did was sit on his couch and eat chips, he wouldn't either.

More importantly the original revival of the Olympics was just part of the whole Eugenics craze of that era in history and you can't really breed a super race without super women as well as super men. The fact that an entire army of genetically superior super people could probably be defeated by a cripple with a brain and a chemistry lab doesn't fit into the world view of the kind of people who started this crap.

Re:Why seperate competions by gender anyway? (3, Insightful)

anarcobra (1551067) | more than 2 years ago | (#40853421)

More importantly the original revival of the Olympics was just part of the whole Eugenics craze of that era in history and you can't really breed a super race without super women as well as super men.

That certainly explains all the sex in the Olympic village. Although, it doesn't explain why they hand out condoms.

Re:Why seperate competions by gender anyway? (3, Insightful)

king neckbeard (1801738) | more than 2 years ago | (#40853277)

There is a lot of money to be made in people watching the Olympics. More people will watch the Olympics (and more money will be made) if you have women's volleyball. If it's merely fair competition, there will be no women in the Olympic volleyball competition.

Re:Why seperate competions by gender anyway? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40853297)

white runners did not stand a chance

Gosh, somebody better tell Vebjorn Rodal...

Re:Why seperate competions by gender anyway? (0)

RivenAleem (1590553) | more than 2 years ago | (#40853431)

Would you prefer an olympics w/o women altogether? That's what would happen if you didn't separate the competitions by gender (except equestrian ofc). Option B would be to include events that favour women, like making Balance Beam and adapting the Floor Exercise to men to include music and dance elements.

There are very few black swimmers (I hear it's because the melanin makes them denser and thus slower through the water) So while running might be dominated by blacks due to genetic advantages, swimming appears to be dominated by Asians and Caucasians because of their genetic advantages. So that evens out.

If you merge the genders, then you will have to include events that are not purely strength based, but instead favour women. Otherwise you are not testing the full spectrum.

Women did not fight for equal treatment in a physical arena, they wanted to be treated (rightly so) as equals intellectually. Thus the right to equal work for equal pay, and the right to vote. They have never asked to be treated as equals physically. That might be because (shock) they are smart enough to admit that there is a physical difference.

Re:Why seperate competions by gender anyway? (0)

ynp7 (1786468) | more than 2 years ago | (#40853557)

There are very few black swimmers (I hear it's because the melanin makes them denser and thus slower through the water) So while running might be dominated by blacks due to genetic advantages, swimming appears to be dominated by Asians and Caucasians because of their genetic advantages. So that evens out.

Congratulations, you're not only a complete idiot but also a huge racist. Not that much of an accomplishment, obviously, as it is quite the common pairing, but it's likely the most you'll ever do to distinguish yourself in the world.

Re:Why seperate competions by gender anyway? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40853579)

The most important thing to bear in mind is that being equal, and being the same, are not equivalent. Genetics (including gender-related genetics) DO make people different - but different does not mean superior or inferior. The important thing for society is that we're all treated equally.

Re:Why seperate competions by gender anyway? (1)

eugene ts wong (231154) | more than 2 years ago | (#40853599)

They didn't ask for equality, so they asked for their own categories, and special treatment? They should have admit that they weren't equals and then just not compete for certain jobs and Olympic opportunities.

Your claim is like saying, "I'm equal physically, so you have to cut me some slack! Ha ha!".

Keep it simple. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40853239)

If you have a Y chromosome, you are a male.

Re:Keep it simple. (1)

jamesh (87723) | more than 2 years ago | (#40853451)

If you have a Y chromosome, you are a male.

Simpler would be to check the birth certificate, or simply ask the person. Not definitive though, but neither is your idea.

Re:Keep it simple. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40853459)

By that definition, most women are male. Everyone has a mixture of XX, XY and some XXY/XYY/XXX. This really isn't a simple issue, which you would know if you had RTFA.

You keep using that word... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40853241)

Gender is psychology and culture
Sex is biology

You can be biologically male (ie. have a penis, XY chromosones, etc) and be gendered female (ie. living your life as a woman).

If we're talking about a physical test rather than a psychological one, it's a sex test, not a gender test.

penis check (-1)

Sigvatr (1207234) | more than 2 years ago | (#40853245)

They could just check to see if they have a penis.

Re:penis check (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40853273)

Then the best female athletes will be men that lost their penis in an accident.

I live in Thailand (0)

jampola (1994582) | more than 2 years ago | (#40853267)

And I've taken friends along to one too many "shows" in Pattaya, so trust me when I say, dropping yer dacks just ain't gonna cut it!!

The answer... (1, Insightful)

LandDolphin (1202876) | more than 2 years ago | (#40853373)

is to remove "men's" and "women's" and just have events.

Re:The answer... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40853427)

This.

Re:The answer... (3, Insightful)

jamesh (87723) | more than 2 years ago | (#40853489)

is to remove "men's" and "women's" and just have events.

I can see your point. Training is one factor in an athlete's ability to perform, but so is genetics. You might have a gene that allows you to build muscle mass faster, or make more efficient use of oxygen, yet someone without those genes still have to compete at the same level as you. Yet if you don't have a Y chromosome you get to compete on a different level without having to compete with people with that particular genetic advantage.

Obviously a Y chromosome isn't the only deciding factor though. I have one, but i wouldn't stand a chance against any decent athlete who doesn't have one, but at the top level you'll find that in most events involving strength the athletes with a Y chromosome outcompete those without.

I vote we keep men's and women's events as is and like the rest of us who lucked out in the high performance genetic lottery, people with indeterminate sex will just have to miss out too (or put up with the category they are assigned to for competition).

Re:The answer... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40853549)

but at the top level you'll find that in most events involving strength the athletes with a Y chromosome outcompete those without.

It isn't just strength events where that happens. In the marathon the women's current world record is 2:15 set in 2003. Elite men have been beating that since at least as far back as 1958. Last year's fastest woman (Liliya Shobukhova, 2:18:20) wouldn't have even troubled the top 100 men (slowest top 100 time 2:08:45, according to the Association of Road Racing Statisticians [arrs.net] ).

Sure, there are loads of things which could affect that like how relatively young the women's marathon event is, but regardless of that if you removed the gender based classes then women will pretty much instantly lose out on any prize money or sponsorship they currently get to the men who compete in the same races and beat them, and that'll totally trash the women's end of the sport.

Re:The answer... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40853509)

What puzzles me, how black and white people can compete in athletics but not male and female?

Re:The answer... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40853667)

because the genetic difference between males and females is much greater than the genetic difference between people with different skin color

Words have a gender, not people. (0)

davesag (140186) | more than 2 years ago | (#40853417)

People have a sex, not a gender. Words have genders.

Just make the competition (0)

Damnshock (1293558) | more than 2 years ago | (#40853435)

Just make the competition *GENDERLESS*

It is really *THAT SIMPLE*.

No controversy, no "machismo", no... nothing!

Re:Just make the competition (1)

stud9920 (236753) | more than 2 years ago | (#40853565)

Hard to motivate half of humanity into training hard for sports if they have no chance to win. With trickle down to normal people, hard to motivate them if you can't give them heroes

test 01 (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40853465)

test 01

mang fpt , lap mang fpt (-1)

tientdfpt (2698991) | more than 2 years ago | (#40853483)

mang fpt , dang ky lap amng fpt anh chi em vao up dum nha http://www.fptmiennam.com/ [fptmiennam.com]

Female athlete arrested on charges of rape (1)

ami.one (897193) | more than 2 years ago | (#40853693)

These grey areas have a potential for a lot of bigger problems than just sports competitions.

See the sad case of Indian female athlete being accused & arrested for rape [bbc.co.uk] and actually being manhandled and mistreated by male police officers for 25 days till court granted her bail. [wn.com]

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