Social Question

airowDee's avatar

What makes someone a man or a woman?

Asked by airowDee (1791points) September 11th, 2009

As you all know

there is this story

“Caster Semenya, the South African sprinter who won the women’s 800 metres at last month’s World Athletics Championships in Berlin, is a hermaphrodite, according to several published reports.

According to the reports, the International Association of Athletics Federations was preparing to disqualify Semenya, 18, from future events after gender tests uncovered evidence that she has no womb or ovaries, and carries both male and female sexual organs. ”

I am interested in talking about transgender and transsexual as well, whether if people feel that it is another form of intersex condition or a mental illness.

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20 Answers

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

Michael Phelps’ physique gives him an advantage when it comes to swimming.
Why should this woman’s efforts be completely invalidated because her physiology gives her an advantage?

Facade's avatar

@The_Compassionate_Heretic Exactly. You can’t regulate testosterone.

Blondesjon's avatar

We are all (especially Americans) much too hung up on pee pees.

DominicX's avatar

I find the whole issue of it to be very confusing. To some people, it seems that a gender exists in the body and in the mind. I have a male body and feel male on the inside, which is why I’m insulted when people tell me that getting a sex change would make life easier for me. Sure, I’d have the “right” attraction and the effeminate part of me would match, but it would be wrong for me, since I do not feel like a female in my mind.

For transsexuals, the gender of the body doesn’t match the gender of the mind. (Some people differentiate and call the body gender “sex” and the mind gender “gender”). Some people have male sex organs but feel as if they are a woman. In that case, it’s up to the person to decide which gender to identify with.

As for intersex people, I’m not even sure where to begin. In that case, going by the body isn’t going to give you a straight answer as to whether they are a “man” or “woman”. I’m sure in the minds of some intersex people, they feel like one gender in specific and I’m also sure some intersex people do not feel like they belong to either gender.

I know this comment seems very unfinished, but those are just my thoughts at the moment.

airowDee's avatar

I really think that I get to have the right to define my gender identity, and so does everyone else. I know alot of people like to say they want to be batman, but they are just lying to themselves.

I don’t think that is a comparable analogy.

Anyways, cute picture, lelac! :D

DominicX's avatar


I agree that people should be able to define it themselves as well. Sure, for most people, it’s not an issue. Their physical gender matches their gender identity. But there are those for whom it’s not that simple and I have no reason to doubt them or think them any less than anyone else. I also don’t agree with the whole “I’m a dog!” analogy either because a dog and a human are not the same thing. Different species =/= different gender within the same species. Batman is a fictional character. A man, woman, or neither is something that can very well exist entirely within humans.

And thanks. I like the picture too. ^_^

Sarcasm's avatar

The genitals they are born with makes them male or female.

DominicX's avatar


Yeah, but what if you’re born with both? They often “make” people born with both girls because it’s easier, but that doesn’t often match them well enough.

cyn's avatar

I think she’s been working too hard for the medal. The medal shouldn’t be taken away from her. I agree with @DominicX and @The_Compassionate_Heretic. I would blame the extra-testosterone, not her!

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

@cyndihugs I don’t think there’s any blame to be placed in this situation.

airowDee's avatar

I don’t blame anyone for the gender diversity that exist in th natural world.

mattbrowne's avatar

It used to be XX versus XY. A more modern view is based on brain physiology as a result of hormone activity during pregnancies. An XY person can in fact feel like a woman.

airowDee's avatar


I know what you mean, believe me.

airowDee's avatar

That is about sexual orientation, not gender identity.

mattbrowne's avatar

@airowDee – I think it goes beyond sexual orientation. I’m not sure whether there are studies about INAH-3 in transsexuals. My expectations would be: genetically male people who feel like women have a small INAH-3 compared to other men, genetically female people who feel like men have a large INAH-3 compared to other women.

airowDee's avatar

maybe you are right, i don’t think there is a specific gay gene or transsexual gene.

mattbrowne's avatar

no, it might have to do with testosterone effects leading to more or less or different gene expressions

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