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TitsMcGhee's avatar

Do you think this person's Olympic medal should be taken away or reconsidered in any form?

Asked by TitsMcGhee (8252points) September 10th, 2009

Read this article, then tell me your thoughts: should this runner’s medal be taken? What are your opinions about the ethics of the situation, or do ethics really have a place in this specific case?

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22 Answers

El_Cadejo's avatar

No. The only time i think they should be taken away if it comes out after the fact that the athlete cheated in some form.

evegrimm's avatar

Gender testing used to be mandatory? Really? (SNL has it right in this instance.)

No, her medal shouldn’t be revoked. After all, it would be like revoking a medal after finding out someone has longer legs than normal, naturally. Or better lungs or something. It’s biological, not based on steroids or something.

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

The athlete wasn’t attempting a fraud.

Saturated_Brain's avatar

She has no testes and ovaries? Man…

To be honest, I’m on the fence for this one. On one hand, she didn’t cheat and this was not her fault in the least. On the other hand, having three times the testosterone levels for females is just like your body producing natural steroids. She has a serious advantage over her other female competitors (but you can’t call it unfair as it’s biological. That would be like disqualifying Michael Phelps from swimming just because his body is better suited for swimming).

The best thing I can think of is that she keeps her medal, but then fights for a new gender to be included in the Olympics, although I can just imagine the uproar caused by doing that.

rooeytoo's avatar

I think it is a sad thing for this person and it is not very fair, she is not going to have an easy life. But if I were another female runner competing against her and I did not have the advantages afforded by a 3 times higher testosterone level and her apparent male attributes of muscularity and strength, that would not be fair either.

It is not the fault of the athlete if she did not know about the internal testes, but it is not the fault of the other competitors either.

Kraigmo's avatar

Let her win, then adjust the rules afterwards for the future if need be. Start segregating sports by personal biology rather than gender. If a woman has certain characteristics of a man, maybe she should be on the man’s team. And the vice versa of that too.

The sports authorities shouldn’t retroactively deny medals. But they should be allowed to change their tests of qualification into more and more complicated rules as science and understanding of the gender spectrum grows.

Thammuz's avatar

What the fuck. If she’s a hermaphrodite what the hell is the problem? Gender or nogender her phisique is mostly female, i saw complete females that looked way more maasculine than her…

elnumbre's avatar

I think she shouldn’t have her medal taken from her as she wasn’t meaning to commit fraud. I feel sorry for her, imagine being top of the world after that explosive victory then finding out, to a degree, that the reason you won was because you’re more manly than the other competitors. I don’t think it would be fair to allow her to continue in women’s events as she is in fact not female. Its not the same as phelps because he’s a man whos swimming in a men’s swimming event whereas Semenya is entering an event where one has to be a female runner. However she should definitely get to keep her gold medal. She trained and she earnt it.

Sarcasm's avatar

Depends. What do the rules say?
Do they say that female athletes have to have a vagina? Or do they say that female athletes may not have a penis?

If the former, then she should be allowed to stay, since she does have a vajayjay. If the latter, then she should have to lose it, since she does have a penis.

I still say she LOOKS like a man more than a woman

OpryLeigh's avatar

Because she didn’t cheat I don’t think it should be taken away from her.

An athlete friend of mine came up with a very valid point about how nature can make you more talented in certain areas than some other people:

Volleyball players benefit from being tall but not all Volleyball players are 7 foot! There is nothing to stop a 7 foot player competing against a 5 foot player (as far as I’m aware!). The point is, if the condition that benefits the athlete is 100% natural, should the rules state that you can’t compete because of them?

Sarcasm's avatar

@Leanne1986 as I said above, my personal opinion depends on what the rules state The fact is that males and females are separated in most athletic competitions. If volleyball leagues were separated into those who are 6’+ or greater, and those who are 5’11” or less, you’d expect the people to appropriately sort out.
The rules don’t really expect someone to be both above and below 6’.

Jack79's avatar

Since the rules of the game divide athletes into men and women, and give medals accordingly, everyone should play by the same rules. And there are also rules to determine whether one is considered male or female (at least as far as the games are concerned) and also other parameters that may disqualify someone (eg they didn’t fill out their application form properly). So yes, a medal could be taken away under certain circumstances, if the person should not have taken part in the first place. In this case of course it’s a shame, since (s)he didn’t willfully try to do anything wrong.

OpryLeigh's avatar

So does this mean that she probably won’t be able to compete in mens or womens sports? Seems such a shame because she must have worked as hard as everyone else to get there.

Jack79's avatar

I think they will decide whether she is a man or a woman (bit silly, but makes sense if you have men’s and women’s categories) and then she’ll be competing accordingly. Obviously if she’s a he, the competition will be tougher (which is why they have the categories in the first place).

MacBean's avatar

No. I really wish they’d leave her the hell alone. Her accomplishment has been totally overshadowed by this. :( I also wish they’d stop using the word “hermaphrodite.” It isn’t correct. (I’m shocked and impressed that that Faux News article actually uses the correct term and points out that it was once called hermaphroditism.)

Sarcasm's avatar

What is correct?

MacBean's avatar

“Intersex.” To be a hermaphrodite, both sets of organs have to be functional. That doesn’t happen in humans.

OpryLeigh's avatar

@MacBean I wasn’t aware of that. You really do learn something new everyday!

BBQsomeCows's avatar

You’re either genetically male or not.

You can call yourself a pink hippo, but if you’re genetically male, you’re still a man no matter how you mutilate your body.

Thammuz's avatar

@BBQsomeCows: You apparently haven’t read the article. She isnt a post-op transexual, she’s a hermaphrodite.

That said i’d really love you explaining this “pearl of wisdom” to a friend of my father’s who realized that his MOTHER had XY cromosomes for some reason, incidentally making him incapable of having female daughters because he turned up YY.

His mother did give birth to him, and as far as i know there was no more than one penis involved in the act, yet according to you she’s a he. Gender is deeply more complicated than simply “XX” and “XY”, a lot of factors come into play during human development that can drastically alter what one was supposed to turn out.

Sinqer's avatar

I would base my decision on the spirit of the separation of genders, to pit humans of equivalent biological aptitudes versus one another. If she generates that much testosterone (which has significant impact on physical aptitudes), has all the genitalia of a male, and only partially that of a female, I would say she biologically belongs within the ranks of male competition. I would also ask for the chromosomes and consider those.

I certainly wouldn’t consider making extensive special rules and regulations to accommodate a single athlete.

I was born with the physique I have, and I might have been able to compete in some sports had I tried, but certainly not all. I have to accept that my biological makeup does not allow me to excel in all physical areas. If this runner has biological traits, (breasts, fat storage, or other gender based traits) that exclude him from being able to compete with those most aptly equating to his physiology, then it’s no different than I or anyone else.

It seems to me that he likely has the overall appearance of a female (from the reference to his daughter), but has unseen chemical and physiological advantages over females. If this places his aptitude (maximum potential) beyond most women, but insufficient to adequately compete with males… welcome to reality with the rest of us, we aren’t on the men’s or women’s olympic competitors lists either.

In fact, from what I have read, she/he fits the description bio-chemically of a female on specific steroids, and the fact that he generates these chemicals naturally doesn’t seem an adequate excuse to allow him to compete with the inappropriate gender for his aptitudes.

I can hear the arguments coming about women that place times amongst the male competitors, but they do so with no more or less chemicals than those they compete against. Testosterone makes a big difference in physical prowess, a noticeable difference.

I would take the medal. Likewise, I would reinstall the rules of gender checking for both sexes.

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