Sex and gender issues in competitive sports: investigation of a historical case leads to a new viewpoint

Kaye Ballantyne, Manfred Kayser, Anton Grootegoed

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Based on DNA analysis of a historical case, the authors describe how a female athlete can be unknowingly confronted with the consequences of a disorder of sex development resulting in hyperandrogenism emerging early in her sports career. In such a situation, it is harmful and confusing to question sex and gender. Exposure to either a low or high level of endogenous testosterone from puberty is a decisive factor with respect to sexual dimorphism of physical performance. Yet, measurement of testosterone is not the means by which questions of an athlete's eligibility to compete with either women or men are resolved. The authors discuss that it might be justifiable to use the circulating testosterone level as an endocrinological parameter, to try to arrive at an objective criterion in evaluating what separates women and men in sports competitions, which could prevent the initiation of complicated, lengthy and damaging sex and gender verification procedures.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)614-617
Number of pages4
JournalBritish Journal of Sports Medicine
Volume46
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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