New Regulations For Intersex Athletes

A discussion in the “Journal of Sex Research” explains the International Olympic Committee and the International Association of Athletic Federation’s regulation definitions of elite male and female athletes.

In past competitions controversy has stemmed from males trying to compete as females and intersex athletes (those born with genetic anomalies).

One intersex condition is hyperandrogenism (females with testosterone at male levels); even a female with 3 times more testosterone than the average female is still below normal male testosterone.

Females can be born with an XY chromosome, but if the person is not affected by androgens or does not reach the range of male testosterone, the person would be eligible to compete as a female (even if the person possesses intact testicles).

The new rules are not about discerning gender, but rather acceptable ranges of androgen (high levels increase athletes strength and muscle mass) and testosterone levels. The article states the updated regulations are an improvement, but also ponders the idea that gender separation in elite athletic competition may be eliminated in the future.