Hard Knock Radio

Olympics Sex Verification: The Demeaning Practice of Sex Testing Elite Women Athletes

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Dr. Katrina Karkazis, the Stanford bioethicist spoke candidly about the ban that makes female athletes with naturally high levels of testosterone ineligible to compete under International Association of Athletics Federation rules.

International sports organizations have long subjected female elite female athletes to humiliating practice of sex testing, designed to identify those with abnormally high testosterone levels.



Katrina Karkazis

Katrina Karkazis, Ph.D., M.P.H., is a Senior Research Scholar with the Center for Biomedical Ethics. She is a cultural anthropologist with a particular interest in contemporary biomedicine. Her recent work has examined contemporary debates over the medical management of infants born with intersex diagnoses. Fixing Sex, her book based on this research, was published by Duke University Press. She is also course coordinator and instructor for The Responsible Conduct of Research courses (Med255 and Med 255C).

  • SkyLark Phillips

    In other words, destroying women’s sports is acceptable in order to pander to a tiny segment of the population. Google Caster Semenya and photos. We are supposed to believe it’s fair. No one is buying it, and they have to drag out an anthropologist to try to shove it down our throats. It’s not working.
    A cultural anthropologist is telling us to ignore what we see with our own eyes. I’m not buying it. Karkazis is a cultural anthropologist not a person with extensive background in sports medicine. I hope this cultural anthropologist realizes what she has unleashed upon women’s sports. The female athletes who were robbed will never forgive or forget what happened. This politically correct nonsense has real life consequences.
    Nothing that a cultural anthropologists ever says will make it right. People are angry as hell over the Caster controversy. Yes, intersex people deserve respect, but it’s a matter of fundamental fairness. Caster does not deserve an Olympic gold medal. It’s a farce, and it’s unfair to women athletes. Caster has internal testes that produce testosterone in the near to normal male range. Where does the high testosterone come from? In the case of Semenya, it’s coming from undescended testicles. Semenya does not have ovaries and a uterus. All this has been established. All we have to do is look at the photographs of typical male muscle development and male skeletal structure. No breast development, flat on top, small hips, and typical male muscle development. This is the truth that they are trying to shove down our throats. When people see Caster run, they think male. I don’t know specifically what intersex medical condition that Caster has, but Caster definitely leans toward male.

    It’s time to go back to the genetic testing. Anyone with a Y chromosome can’t compete as a female. Make no mistake. This will never go away, and we can see it with our own eyes.
    Data drawn from 20 years of mandatory testing between 1976 and 1996 found that women with Y chromosomes were hugely overrepresented at the Olympics. According to Eric Vilain, a medical geneticist who consults for the International Olympic Committee and supports testosterone testing, these women turn up at a rate of 1 in 400 competitors, as compared with 1 in 20,000 in the general population.

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