One line answer: A testosterone level less than 5 nmol/L.
If your blood has 4.99 nmol/L testosterone, then you’re a female. If you happen to fall on the other side of this thin line, like 5.01 nmol/L, then you’re probably a male.
That doesn’t make sense, right?
How does a percentage of naturally produced hormone dictate if I’m a woman or a man? And as if this was not enough, imagine being humiliated to the point of getting your sex verified through a test.
I have been subjected to unwarranted and invasive scrutiny of the most intimate and private details of my being.Caster Semenya
This is the story of the Elite Athlete and Olympian, Caster Semenya.
When Micheal Phelps was found with double-jointed ankles, astoundingly long arms, and a genetic anomaly where his body produced less than half the lactic acid of a typical athlete, people celebrated him like a marvel. The fact that he experienced less fatigue (caused by lactic acid) and thus, performed better than his competition was treated as a biological advantage. No one questioned or suggested that he must get a corrective surgery done or be injected with lactic acid to compete ‘fairly’ and ‘reasonably’.
Discrimination is a necessary, reasonable and proportionate means of achieving the IAAF’s aim of preserving the integrity of female athletics.International Association of Athletics Federations
Now, I wonder why Caster Semenya came under such scrutiny and was banned? Is it because she’s a woman? Or because she comes with different skin colour?
How is her biological advantage different from Phelps’?
It is clear that she is a woman but maybe not 100 percent.Pierre Weiss, Secretary general of the IAFF in 2009
What?? How is calling her not 100% woman preserving the integrity of female athletes? What does it mean to be a 100% woman? Have they given it a thought to what it means to be a 100% man? Or a 100% trans?
Let me shed light to an intriguing report: A 2018 study recorded low testosterone concentrations in 25.4% of male elite competitors in 12 of the 15 sports. Now, would Pierre Weiss be willing to say that these elite sportsmen were less than 100% male?
If being a woman means having a standard level of physiological activity, then to me, it brings a message to conform. To be like everyone else. To stay within limits. And, that doesn’t sit right with me.
I used to wonder how hard it was for transwomen to justify that even though they aren’t born with the lady parts, they identify internally as a woman. If it’s so hard for the so-called socially acceptable females to justify their womanhood, then the going gets tougher for transwomen.
Is this how we leave this world a better place than we were born in?