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I.O.C. Panel Calls for Treatment in Sex Ambiguity Cases

Athletes who identify themselves as female but have medical disorders that give them masculine characteristics should have their disorders diagnosed and treated, [a panel of medical experts convened by the International Olympic Committee] concluded after two days of meetings in Miami Beach. The experts also said that rules should be put in place for determining an athlete’s eligibility to compete on a case-by-case basis — but they did not indicate what those rules should be.

Translation: it doesn't matter if you like yourself how you are. It doesn't matter if your "disorder" is causing you zero physical or mental harm. If you are "female" but you have "masculine characteristics," you gotta get that shit FIXED.

The panel’s recommendations were criticized by some athletes, who said that athletes with masculinizing disorders are so different from other women that their presence in competition is unfair.

“If you start to do this you are making a joke of the fact that there are two classifications — male and female,” said Doriane Coleman, a law professor at Duke University and a former elite 800-meter runner. “They might as well open it up and have women competing with men.”

Translation: if you do not see the world in binary, you're pretty fucked-up in the head! Also, if you SIMPLY DON'T FIT IN THE BINARY, you'd better get that shit FIXED so that you do. Because everything that's wrong is wrong with YOU, not with the people who think your very existence is unfair. Because women aren't allowed to be as strong as men--EVER. If they have a "disorder" that makes them exceptionally strong, this is BAD and WRONG and must be FIXED. Don't you dare step outside those binary categories!

Masculinizing disorders are rare but significantly more common among elite athletes than in the rest of the population, said Dr. Eric Vilain, a medical geneticist at U.C.L.A. and a participant in the meetings. They can be caused by an overactive adrenal gland, which would result in high testosterone levels from fetal life onward. Or someone might have the male Y chromosome but be relatively insensitive to testosterone. As a result, the person develops as a woman but has high testosterone levels that are only partly effective.

Translation, because NO ONE IS FUCKING GETTING IT: it's biology, not cheating. Now shut the fuck up, IOC. No one whined when Usain Bolt had exceptional speed, because he's a MAN and that's EXPECTED. If Usain Bolt had naturally-high levels of testosterone--if that had benefitted him--no one would have said jack shit. But Caster Semenya? OH GOD NO WE CAN'T HAVE A WOMAN HAVING NATURAL BIOLOGICAL ADVANTAGES.

Members of the panel said that their concern was with sports federations’ responsibility for athletes with medical disorders. Athletes’ health might be endangered if their disorders are not diagnosed and treated, they said.

The IOC are only concerned for the health of the athlete--well, that sounds reasonable, right? And I would believe it if not for this next bit:

“Those who agree to be treated will be permitted to participate,” said Dr. Maria New, a panel participant and an expert on sexual development disorders. “Those who do not agree to be treated on a case-by-case basis will not be permitted.”

Translation: if you refuse medical treatment, which should be your right as a human fucking being, you don't get to play. I'd like to know what their case-by-case basis is going to be. Because somehow, I just don't think they're going to be nice and say, Well, if you're not going to die from it and you're happy, go ahead and have your extra testosterone! I wouldn't trust them as far as I could throw them.

But, for critics like Coleman, this stance avoids the issue of fairness. It is not enough to simply lower testosterone levels after diagnosing an athlete’s disorder, she said. By that point, the athlete has already reaped the benefits of a lifetime of heightened testosterone.

But panel members said it was impossible to wipe away every advantage an athlete might have.

Translation: IF YOU ARE FEMALE AND YOU ARE NATURALLY STRONG, YOU ARE CHEATING. CHEATING CHEATING CHEATING!!! Nevermind that females with high testosterone who have never trained a day in their life for the OLYMPIC FUCKING GAMES are unlikely to be any sort of competetive threat. Nevermind that these people have worked for close to their whole lives in order to be capable of these feats. THEY'RE CHEATING. BIOLOGICALLY.

Forget about level playing fields, said Dr. Myron Genel of Yale. “For a lot of us here, there is no such thing,” he said. “We were told at the meeting about a Finnish family that was extraordinarily successful in cross-country skiing. They were found to have a genetic disorder that provided them higher levels of hemoglobin, and therefore they had superior oxygen-carrying capability. Specific genetic defects provide advantages.”

Translation: genes can give you extra-super-awesome physical advantages. Sometimes you get the gene, sometimes you don't. And yet people only make a fuss when it's a "woman who looks like a man," because that's the only time it matters.

You know, if you searched every Olympic athelete for genetic disorders that afforded them advantages, and you removed them from competition, I bet you wouldn't have much of an Olympic games left. The games showcase the very height of human skill and strength. These atheletes are not average in the first place.

It is my firm opinion that as long as you're not shooting up to get to where you want to be, do whatever you fucking want with any biological gifts you might have been lucky enough to get.

The guidelines so far are merely recommendations, the participants emphasized.

Oh, sure. "We recommend that you get back in your goddamn pink box or we won't let you compete."

For example, it advised that medical “centers of excellence” be created to diagnose sex-development disorders.

How that would work was not spelled out publicly, although New said a more specific plan had been discussed. Sports authorities would send photographs of athletes to experts like her. If the expert thinks the athlete might have a sexual-development disorder, the expert would order further testing and suggest treatment.

Keep in mind they're really only talking about female athletes, here. They keep saying athletes, but I have a hard time imagining they'll start sending in photos of male athletes who "look like women." Remember, folks: if you're female and you look like a man in the opinion of someone NOT YOU, you're in trooooouble.

Also left unresolved was how to enforce the policy about treating athletes whose sex seems ambiguous.

Consider, Vilain said, an athlete with a disorder that gives her a high testosterone level. Must she be treated to bring her testosterone level down to the average range for women? Or can it be in the high range? And how often must she be tested to be sure she is complying with her treatment?

Well, it's not like you can just treat 'em like HUMAN BEINGS. Because they're weird. And they're cheating.

Simpson, of Florida International University, said he recognized that some female athletes would find the guidelines unfair. But, he said, “we have to balance fairness to female athletes to fairness to other competitors.”

Oh, well then, let's make everyone all AVERAGE so that it will be COMPLETELY FAIR. I mean, I should be going to the Olympics to skate! It's not fair that I don't have biological advantages that made me super-awesome at my sport, so we should make everyone else have the same strength. Then it would be FAIR.

Life isn't fair, people. You might be good at something, or you might be shit at it. You might be somewhere in the middle. You might have awesome genes or shitty genes or a mix of the two or you might be perfectly average. You might go to the Olympics, or you might watch the Olympics.

I cannot express how angry and sick I feel that this mentality of "women must be like THIS" exists. We can celebrate those skiers who happen to be extra-good at carrying oxygen--but we can't celebrate Semenya, because she's not just cheating (biologically!), she's NOT EVEN A TRUE WOMAN. And we can't have that, now can we?

Re: why yes I do have a lot of rage tonight

Date: 2010-02-03 02:04 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kassie-opia.livejournal.com
(I personally found Twilight boring and poorly-written but not actually offensive. Sure, it perpetuates some pretty Stone-Age values and most sensible reviews I've read are fairly merciless about that, but even when people get all IT WILL TEACH LITTLE GIRLS TO ACCEPT ABUSIVE RELATIONSHIPS, there is often a creepily paternalistic attitude behind it - you know, the book should be BANNED and BURNT because little girls are incapable of forming their own opinions or reading a text critically in any way. I tend to get this impression even more when they tend to go on about EDWARD'S A FAG AND A VIRGIN LOL in the background, because... yeah.

...also, um, my personal Twilight theory would have been that it could have been awesome if Bella had been a bit more lively. I didn't see Edward as a creepy violent stalker so much as this absolutely helplessly awkward dude who hasn't had sex in 100 years because he just does not know how to act with people - he wants to do the right thing but he's really useless, and I imagine a more proactive Bella could have had interesting chemistry helping him learn to engage with the world, etc. Which is why I found that whole much-derided scene in the movie where he's leaping about in the forest with her and looking all smiley kind of endearing - in a "Look he's so proud of himself!" sort of way.

Although that *may* be because I've RP'd a sort of quasi-Edward character for a long time (he's one of the (very)anti-heroes of my novel, and let me tell you, what with twincest and running from the police, Edwardlikeness is the least of his issues) and I am still rather attached to him. Now I think of it, he did actually have a doomed mutually miserable relationship with a Bella-type character of [livejournal.com profile] m_mas's, if Bella was a professional baker with superpowers, before she finally dumped him...


Re: why yes I do have a lot of rage tonight

Date: 2010-02-03 02:25 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] imagines.livejournal.com
because little girls are incapable of forming their own opinions or reading a text critically in any way.

DUDE, OMG, YOU JUST EXPRESSED WHAT I HAVE NEVER BEEN ABLE TO EXPRESS. There's always been something that just hit me as wrong about how people insist that NO ONE SHOULD READ TWILIGHT EVER, BECAUSE THEN THEY WILL THINK LIKE BELLA!!! For one thing, I enjoy it as the vampire fluff that it is, and for another, I can and do read critically! Even if it's vampire fluff! I think lots of people should read Twilight, actually, and then--whether they are boys or girls--there should be discussion about the themes in the books, and what sort of culture allows those themes to exist, and why they're dangerous, and why even if Bella is cool with being manipulated by a stalker, WE OURSELVES do not need to be cool with it.

I maintain that Twilight does not singlehandedly cause girls to say things like OMG EDWARD IS SO HOT; I WANT TO DATE EDWARD. It is the fault of a culture that daily teaches them to be the passive hunted "lamb." It is the constant flood of media and advertising and general social ideals that teaches them to make themselves as attractive to men as possible, because being pretty much bait should be every girl's main goal in life, you see. Wanting to date Edward exactly how he is (breaking in to watch you sleep and all!) is a symptom, not the disease.

I completely agree that a lively!Bella would have been seriously kickass. I, um, kind of really want to write some kind of huge epic Twilight fanfic someday, where Bella is a Proper Character with, like, DYNAMICNESS. /0\

Hey, I for one think Twilight is a very important issue these days! (Not sarcasm!!! :p) It's in the public consciousness to the point that people who haven't read or seen it know what it is, and it's creating tons of discussion about sexism and sexuality and whatnot. I say bring on the talking-about-Twilight.

Re: why yes I do have a lot of rage tonight

Date: 2010-02-03 02:58 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kassie-opia.livejournal.com
For one thing, I enjoy it as the vampire fluff that it is, and for another, I can and do read critically! Even if it's vampire fluff!

Exactly! God knows I used to read a lot of stuff with immensely anti-feminist undertones back in the day (hello, Narnia, with your creepy sexist and racist undertones that are mysteriously absent from the movie adaptations. Although it's lovely that they left in that whole thing about how making our own decisions is baaad and we should trust in Jesus to sort everything out. BUT THAT IS ANOTHER RANT FOR ANOTHER TIME) and I turned out all right.

It's really interesting what you say about girls being essentially groomed by society to act like bait - because I think that is something I have very much internalised, unfortunately (see, er, my recent slew of angsty posts, yes) - and one thing that's always interested me about the vampire genre as a whole is how different authors navigate and subvert the food=sex=death threeway metaphor. Sometimes this is done pretty nicely, but Twilight seems to... sort of bypass the whole discussion in the worst way, really. There's still the creepy Womens Is Food thing, but then again Sex Is Evil, so... yeah.

Then again, I've read interesting things saying that actually Edward's characterisation is supposed to be unrealistic, cartoonish, almost laughable - because he apparently represents some kind of idealised object of stereotypical female sexuality, much like the grotesquely stylised portrayals of women in porn targeted at men, for instance - but we're so used to that as a society that nobody bats an eyelid. They went on to say that while Edward's behaviour is creepy, that sort of hyper-attentive devotion and androgynous beauty maybe taps into teen girl fantasies in the same way the equally unrealistic girls in porn apparently attract dudes. I'm not so sure that I agree with the thesis (apart from anything else, it seems a bit binary-enforcing in itself) but it's interesting to discuss, I guess.

CS lewis

Date: 2010-02-03 09:46 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] stompyfairy.livejournal.com
going even further off track I like CS lewis
OK his kids stuff is overtly religious and christianity of the day was more patriachal than it is now (discounting stone age fundamentalists) but I enjoyed it innocently when I was a kid and it is not all there is to him as an author. If i hadn't read Narnia I probably wouldn't have read any of his theological books and these are really good. I found 'the problem of pain' and 'the four loves' to be challenging reads that changed my outlook possitively. My Gran read 'a grief observed' when she lost her son and it really helped her.
I haven't finished 'the four loves' yet but from what I have read so far it made me seriously think about whether my relationshipes were based on need only and whether my relationships with other people were purely about take. Highly recommended but I suggest being in a preety strong place emotionally if you read it.

Re: CS lewis

Date: 2010-02-03 09:47 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] stompyfairy.livejournal.com
Plus the evil queen is an awsome baddy. I would love to be able to turn people to stone

Re: CS lewis

Date: 2010-02-03 10:36 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kassie-opia.livejournal.com
Fair enough if you like him - I've read some of The Four Loves for classes and I thought it was interesting, but I can't stomach the later Narnia books particularly, I think some of the subtext there (Susan is excluded from the group because she likes ~boys~ and ~parties~ oh noes, and then, er, all her siblings and friends die and go to heaven and she's left behind. So yeah.)

Re: CS lewis

Date: 2010-02-04 05:58 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] stompyfairy.livejournal.com
It has been a while since I read any Narnia probably about 14 years so my memory is a little hazy (I read four loves more recently) I was 10/11 when I read them so possibly missed some of the subtext shall read again at some point and see if they offend me now ;) I am planning to finish reading the four loves this year I sometimes think that authors who write good non fiction are often not so good at fiction. Marina Warner being the exception to the rule!



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