IOC just disqualified women for having too much testosterone. Why do some women have more testosterone? If it’s naturally occurring why isn’t it like height for example in basketball? Just a natural advantage. My first post here, thanks in advance!!


IOC just disqualified women for having too much testosterone. Why do some women have more testosterone? If it’s naturally occurring why isn’t it like height for example in basketball? Just a natural advantage. My first post here, thanks in advance!!

In: Biology

It’s not naturally occurring. You could have many reasons as to why your testosterone is high. Thyroid hormone levels could be the main cause of most, and or pcos I believe.

Men have ~300 – 1,200 nanograms while women have ~15- 100 nanograms naturally. These women popping are probably hiring multiples of what is natural which means they are artificially increasing their numbers. This is cheating simulate to blood doping where people transfuse blood into their system making it so they can move more oxygen.

There are of course variances to the testosterone but it only goes so far.

Edit: I have been looking but nothing really indicates what their rules say for ranges and it does not say what they popped at. Reading the IOC rules also does not give a specific range.

I want to start this by saying I am not anti-trans or intersex, I’m simply stating the idea behind the ruling and a summary of the justification of the court NOT MY IDEA ON SEX, GENDER, ETC.
Semeya Caster is intersex, meaning she has traits from both and her chromosomes are XY (just like a biological male). How she has female trait and is intersex is a different ELI5.
The committee said that her testosterone levels were too high because she has a biological male component that is deemed “unnatural”
They’re drawing the line because of the anti-trans standpoint of only biological females can race in the female category. She is not exactly defined as that since her chromosomes are more complicated.
Height is considered “natural” for many biological non-intersex people. However, she has a complicated chromosome picture.
In sum, my ELI5 is: racing committee is trying to draw a definitive line for what is male and what is female. Semeya biologically falls on that line, and is hence not able to compete in the female category. Just like in football if you catch the football but your foot is on the line, you’re out of bounds even if it’s just a toe. At the risk of sounding ignorant, the committee considers her out of bounds because her toe is on the line. They’re using testosterone limits as a baseline for her because the argument against trans females competing with cos females is the testosterone gives them an advantage, hence why nobody really complains about the idea of trans males competing.
Edit: spelling

The reason this is not just considered a natural advantage has to do with trans people and their place in these kinds of physical competitions.

People are worried about the idea of a trans woman who was born with a male body competing against women with an unfair advantage. It would be extremely transphobic and a horrible policy to base it entirely off of genitalia because that is not what gives the advantage! Further, there are surgeries that can change them, and we don’t want to be in the business of checking them.

So, using testosterone levels as a metric ended up being their compromise to make sure that women don’t have the advantages of a male physiology when they compete. To be fair using this metric, it has to apply to all women, not just trans women. This system really isn’t perfect. But it’s a hard problem to solve. It’s important that we be accepting of trans people and we don’t exclude them just for being trans.

I’m a woman who was born with all of the female parts along with some deformed male bits. Those deformed male bits were removed shortly after birth. Basically, I was born intersex. I didn’t really have any manifestations until puberty where things just weren’t happening at the milestones that most females reach. I had an incredibly irregular period until my mid 20s when I started medication specifically to lower my androgen levels (they were off the charts and on the lower end for a male in mid to late 30s). Even though I had been on birth control for many many years, my periods were super irregular at best; for example, one year I maybe had 3 periods lasting all of 1-2 days. Other things that didn’t quite match up is that while I’m not a very hairy person to begin with, I had more than the fine hair that most women have on their knuckles, toes, chest, etc. Some women are hairier than others, but none of the women in my family are exceptionally hairy with a couple of my aunts (I have 7 first aunts on my mother’s side who are currently alive) having almost no calf hair like it’s not even the very fine hair. So it wasn’t expected for me to have this much hair on parts of my body that are clearly visible. Eventually, I was able to speak with my mom & have a real conversation about this considering she’s finally sober and she’s not simply saying hurtful things because she’s high. While she’s said my entire life I’m “not really a girl” and how they “chopped off the fuck & should’ve chopped up the rest of me” and other variations of that, I never believed her because of her addition that made her manipulative, mean, and abusive (so much so I was in and out of foster care & kinship homes most of my first 17 years). With that being said, I probably have such high levels of androgens that are naturally occurring because I’m intersex. But as for it having any advantage, I promise you that it gives me absolutely no athletic advantage at all except that I put on muscle a little bit faster than other comparable women (age, height, weight, same workouts, etc.) and wind up looking bulky. I can’t say it has ever improved my physical abilities, especially since I don’t think I’ve ever been able to run a 10 minute mile no matter my size- be it 125 lbs or 190 lbs.