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Swede Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 10:39 AM
Original message
Don't Call Them Hermaphrodites
Good for Semenya.



Despite the fact that intersexuality is much more common than generally reported, however, except for brief news sensations like Semenyaand recent speculation about singer Lady Gagahardly ever does anyone think about intersex people. But now, perhaps for the first time ever, an intersex person is making the evening news, and intersex activists think this just might be a defining moment for their movement.

Many are using the opportunity to speak out. Intersex bodies should not be treated as though they are a sickness that needs to be cured, nor should face social stigmatization for the narrow-mindedness of some, read one typical blog post. Op-eds across the globe have condemned the public debate as snarky. And Semenya herself declared her pride in her physicality. "God made me the way I am, and I accept myself, she told South Africas You magazine. I am who I am and I'm proud of myself.


http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2009-09-...
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reflection Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 10:46 AM
Response to Original message
1. Is 'hermaphrodite' generally considered a derogatory term?
Edited on Thu Sep-17-09 10:49 AM by reflection
This is the first time I've heard this assertion. I am not that familiar with the term 'intersex', which either means it hasn't been around very long or I have just missed it. :shrug:

on edit: I understand what the linked article is saying about the term, I just wonder if this movement is representative of the hermaphrodite/intersex community.
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grantcart Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 10:54 AM
Response to Reply #1
5. I believe that it is representative

I am just curious, like you, why hermaphrodite is considered a derogatory term. Seems like a completely clinical term without value to me.
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izzybeans Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 02:23 PM
Response to Reply #5
25. I believe the issue with the term is that as a clinical term it does have value
a negative one. The fact that it is a clinical term indicates that it carries a stigma that defines someone's body as being in a pathological state which needs to be "cured". Clinical terms aren't always value free. Pathologizing sexuality has a long history in medicine and psychiatry.

Intersexed was an alternative term used by activists so that they could have identity available to them that could be self-chosen rather than diagnosed.

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Hepburn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 07:58 PM
Response to Reply #5
45. Same question ~~ I thought it was a medical term.
Would like to know what the correct term is.
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subcomhd Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-18-09 12:01 AM
Response to Reply #45
52. The "euphemism treadmill"

Euphemisms often evolve over time into taboo words themselves, through a process described by W.V.O. Quine, and more recently dubbed the "euphemism treadmill" by Steven Pinker. (cf. Gresham's Law in economics). This is the well-known linguistic process known as pejoration.

Words originally intended as euphemisms may lose their euphemistic value, acquiring the negative connotations of their referents. In some cases, they may be used mockingly and become dysphemisms.

For example, the term "concentration camp", to describe camps used to confine civilian members of the Boer community in close (concentrated) quarters, was used by the British during the Second Boer War, primarily because it sounded bland and inoffensive. Despite the high death rates in the British concentration camps, the term remained acceptable as a euphemism. However, after the Third Reich used the expression to describe its death camps, the term gained enormous negative connotation.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Euphemism#The_.22euphemism...
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bethling Donating Member (18 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 12:49 PM
Response to Reply #1
20. Most Intersexed people dislike the term
The vast majority of people who have intersexed conditions don't like the term because it's not really descriptive of the situation. A hermaphrodite is an organism that can reproduce as either a male or as a female. Some intersexed people may have reproductive tissue from both sexes, but the vast majority don't.

Being intersexed is complicated, and when people reduce it to something that it's not (i.e. "hermarphrodite"), it doesn't really help with bringing understanding to the situation. It's not derogatory per se, just not correct and doesn't help people realize that physical sex isn't just male/femle/(or both I guess), but a spectrum with all sorts of variations.
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FarCenter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 10:47 AM
Response to Original message
2. God made me the way I am -- Intelligent Design?
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SidneyCarton Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 10:52 AM
Response to Reply #2
3. Well she runs very fast...
So, she's well designed regardless.
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MattBaggins Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 11:52 AM
Response to Reply #3
18. Why do you insist on using this word "designed"
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SidneyCarton Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 11:59 AM
Response to Reply #18
19. In response to the poster above me, who used it first.
Lets be frank however, whether by a creator, or merely by the codes in here genes, Miss Semenya was "designed" just as you or I were. You may choose to see no particular intelligence behind it (which is fine, I could care less) but your genes determined a lot about what you are physically, just as they did for Caster Semenya.
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MattBaggins Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 01:13 PM
Response to Reply #19
22. no not at all
Being the result of a sequence of genes does not predicate the use of the word designed.
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One_Life_To_Give Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 01:36 PM
Response to Reply #22
24. In the context used the Genes are a blueprint
Edited on Thu Sep-17-09 01:36 PM by One_Life_To_Give
That is the design/genes/blueprint for your body are different from the design/genes/blueprint for mine. In that context Her (Semenya's)Design is better than mine and probably yours at running fast.
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KittyWampus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 02:38 PM
Response to Reply #22
28. actually, it does since without an innate organizational capacity, you'd have nothing
Edited on Thu Sep-17-09 02:38 PM by KittyWampus
No "being" is required.

But a capacity to organize, recognize, store and generate information is all required for Life to exist.
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SidneyCarton Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 03:23 PM
Response to Reply #28
31. Exactly my point.
Thank you for clarifying it.
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MattBaggins Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 07:05 PM
Response to Reply #28
33. Once again I will have to disagree
Edited on Thu Sep-17-09 07:07 PM by MattBaggins
Those particular words still do not lead to the word design.

I am just being pedantic about the word design when talking about the genetic factor of life. Just channeling my old college genetics professor.

I understand where the OP was coming from. I am just being very nit picky about the word design.
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Matariki Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 01:08 PM
Response to Reply #18
21. Get off it. You can express your atheism as freely as anyone else can express their views
No one is treating your views with derision here, so why don't you extend the same courtesy?
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SidneyCarton Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 02:31 PM
Response to Reply #21
26. Let him be...
He wants to take affront at a comment that had nothing to do with the theist/atheist argument, so be it.

Some folks would die of apathy if they had nothing to gripe about.
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Maru Kitteh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 07:39 PM
Response to Reply #2
37. Oh yes. The young lady hasn't been through enough - let's start ripping her apart for her religious
views now too.

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BoneDaddy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 10:53 AM
Response to Original message
4. Ok what now?
We cannot use the medical term anymore? Intersex? ok, whatever.
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imdjh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 11:26 PM
Response to Reply #4
47. Of course you can.
If you stop using every word that some ninny in California sits around thinking up reasons to be offended at (and the list grows longer and longer) then all those useful things we call words will be off limits to you.

And it's not just clinical terms these hopelessly dreary people try to fuck up and/or eradicate. Take the word gay. Gay used to be used to mean pretty much everyone who wasn't exclusively heterosexual. Why? Because when society calls a bisexual man a queer, it's not for fucking women. Gay used to be inclusive. Then some whiny shit decided it wasn't inclusive, and got a bunch of people on board to say it wasn't inclusive. Twenty years later, it's pretty much worked.

Fuck people who sit around thinking about things to get upset about. Fuck people who get more wrapped up in the words someone is using that what he is saying. Fuck people who get more wrapped up in what a person says than what he does. Oh hell, fuck people. None of them are worth the effort.

I'm now a misanthrope, unless it's a dated term.
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BoneDaddy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-18-09 07:18 AM
Response to Reply #47
53. I know what you mean
sure I want to be sensitive to others, but the demands to adhere to every little thing from spelling and nuance is exhausting and petty.
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WeDidIt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 10:56 AM
Response to Original message
6. GLBTI rights NOW!
Edited on Thu Sep-17-09 10:56 AM by WeDidIt
Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgendered, Intersexual rights NOW!
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LeftishBrit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 10:56 AM
Response to Original message
7. As I understand, 'intersex' is the term for the medical condition..
and 'hermaphrodite' properly refers to animals who have both female and male characteristics; this may be why intersex people don't like to use the term.
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MineralMan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 11:15 AM
Response to Reply #7
8. And yet, we are animals, too.
Hermaphrodite is simply another descriptive word. How we see it is up to us. It's one of the more colorful words in our language, with ties to Greek mythology. A pity that it has some sort of negative connotation.
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supernova Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 11:22 AM
Response to Reply #8
9. I feel the same as you
about the word "hermaphrodite." It's a clinical, scientific term that seems to have gotten a bad rap.

About the only thing that I could think would be negative about it is, in this case, other people described her publicly before she had a chance to describe herself. She was robbed of telling her own story, IOW. That, I think is a shame.

I really want a society where we are all free to be "the way God made us," and not have someone else try to shame us for it.



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BoneDaddy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 11:43 AM
Response to Reply #9
16. I never saw hermaphrodite as a negative term either
and have never thought less of intersexuals to begin with.
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Fumesucker Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 11:24 AM
Response to Reply #7
10. Hermaphrodite can also refer to plants..
I understood it to be the scientific term for a being that has both male and female sexual organs..

http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/hermaphrodite

# An individual or organism possessing both male and female organs, typically including both types of gonads.
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BoneDaddy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 11:42 AM
Response to Reply #7
15. Learn something new everyday
in fairness to myself it was a term recently adopted, from what I read.
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imdjh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 11:30 PM
Response to Reply #7
48. colored people , people of color
Passive aggressive behavior to keep other people off balance and make you feel better about yourself because you're using the new word. Better known as fashion or twaddle.

Intersex will be the right word until everyone gets it down, and then two alcoholic academics in the Ivy League will declare it to be disrespectful, and that "bubbalicious" is the new word.

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Taverner Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 11:25 AM
Response to Original message
11. I thought Hermaphrodites was the clinical term?
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Lance_Boyle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 11:27 AM
Response to Original message
12. Don't try to be the language police.

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ctaylors6 Donating Member (362 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 11:32 AM
Response to Original message
13. FYI from google health and ISNA re terms "hermaphrodite" and "intersex"
Edited on Thu Sep-17-09 11:32 AM by ctaylors6
"Intersex is a group of conditions where there is a discrepancy between the external genitals and the internal genitals (the testes and ovaries).
The older term for this condition, hermaphroditism, came from joining the names of a Greek god and goddess, Hermes and Aphrodite. Hermes was a god of male sexuality (among other things) and Aphrodite a goddess of female sexuality, love, and beauty.
Although the older terms are still included in this article for reference, they have been replaced by most experts (and patients and families) because they are misleading, confusing, and insensitive. Increasingly this group of conditions is being called disorders of sex development (DSDs)."

link: https://www.google.com/health/ref/Intersex

I also didn't know about this change in terminology. Here's another link to the ISNA (Intersex Society of North America) on the word hermaphrodite: http://www.isna.org/node/16

Always happy to educate myself. :)
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aikoaiko Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 11:32 AM
Response to Original message
14. I think the trouble started when people started using the terms Hermaphrodites incorrectly and ...

...pejoratively. Hermaphrodites are a subset of Intersexual variations.


Plus, like terms like moron, imbecile, idiot that were once legitimate and had clinical definitions, the term hermaphrodite got used in lay cultures to mean a "freak" of some type.

However, the term intersexed or intersexual is very broad and includes many variations that don't include having the gonads of both sexes.
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HiFructosePronSyrup Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 11:44 AM
Response to Original message
17. Well, it beats "futa" or "dickgirls"
Just saying.
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meow2u3 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 01:23 PM
Response to Original message
23. Hermaphrodites are individuals who have a full complement of male and female repro organs
Intersex individuals are neither completely male or female. Semenya appears to have a rare intersex condition called androgen insensitivity, in which an apparent female is in fact a genetic male with undescended testes and an XY chromosomal pattern. I remember studying this in college bio class. No wonder Semenya was thought to be a girl; she looked like a she, but was biologically a he--and didn't even know about it!
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KittyWampus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 02:41 PM
Response to Reply #23
29. I'd like to thank you for pointing out that information. It always helps.
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imdjh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 11:33 PM
Response to Reply #23
49. Where are you finding a definition that specifies a full set?
Mine just just "both male and female organs".
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KittyWampus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 02:36 PM
Response to Original message
27. Sorry, but Hermaphrodite has a very long estoeric meaning. I won't be brow beaten by illiterates
Edited on Thu Sep-17-09 02:40 PM by KittyWampus
And thanks to the poster directly above me for pointing out the differences!
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Jersey Devil Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 03:21 PM
Response to Original message
30. Saw interesting show on National Geographic Channel this week on this subject
Intersex people include a lot more than "hermaphrodites", who are people born with both male and female physical sex organs (though it is not clear to me how developed those organs have to be to place them in that class).

I probably learned more in one hour watching that show than I ever was exposed to previously in my whole life on the subject. It should still be airing since Natgeo repeats its shows frequently.
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Cleita Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 03:24 PM
Response to Original message
32. Frescoes on walls in ancient times like in Pompei and Herculaneum for instance,
often show hermaphrodites. Usually, they are dressed as women, with breasts, but also displaying huge erect penises. It seems our ancestors had no problem with them.
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TexasObserver Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 07:07 PM
Response to Original message
34. I'll call them whatever they want to be called.
I have no investment in the word "hermaphrodite" and don't care what is used, as long as it's the choice of those so configured.
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blogslut Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 07:14 PM
Response to Original message
35. Sounds okay to me
Intersex it is.
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winyanstaz Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 07:21 PM
Response to Original message
36. Just so you know...
In some tribes, long ago, transgendered/inter-sexed/gay/put your favorite label here.... were considered very important to the community.
They were considered to be the bridges between the genders and were the councilors and were held in esteem.
After all, for example, if you were a man and having trouble with your wife, you wouldn't go to another man to truly be able to understand a woman and you wouldn't go to a woman because if you could actually communicate will with women, you wouldn't be having trouble with your wife in the first place.
I, myself don't believe the Creator makes mistakes, that is left for mankind to muck up.
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masuki bance Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 07:44 PM
Response to Reply #36
39. Link?
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winyanstaz Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 07:51 PM
Response to Reply #39
41. I am sorry but the Blackfoot Elder that told me this was 80 years old at the time...
Edited on Thu Sep-17-09 08:03 PM by winyanstaz
and that was over 50 years ago.
I believe the tribes had a name for them...Bardash or Bardosh..something like that..not sure but I think the name came from the Sioux.
Her name was Grandmother Thunderbuffalo.
If you run into any Thunderbuffalo from the Blackfoot Nation..give a shout out to Grandmother Thunderbuffalo's granddaughter, Farris..from her childhood playmate. Her and Grandmother stayed with our family one year in Wyoming. I have been hoping to find her again someday. I loved them both as they were good and kind and Grandmother told the best stories!

However, here is a link to what I am talking about.

http://www.imdiversity.com/villages/native/dialogue_opi...

*updated to say hello to Farris from Mouse :)
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gmoney Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 07:42 PM
Response to Original message
38. Don't Call Who Hermaphrodites?
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masuki bance Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 07:53 PM
Response to Reply #38
42. The them. nt
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SoCalDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 07:48 PM
Response to Original message
40. As long as high-dollar sports are set up for participation by "male & female"
Edited on Thu Sep-17-09 07:50 PM by SoCalDem
there will always be scrutiny on anyone who deviates from the norm.

How she lives her personal life is of no consequence to anyone but herself and her family & friends, but when she steps into the arena of public sports, where athletes are bled, tested & examined, she puts herself under that same microscope.

Maybe it's not fair, but it is what it is.

No uterus & no ovaries, pretty much means she is not truly what is considered, medically, to be female. The undescended testes, flood her body with testosterone (which they are made to do) , and that makes her body closer to male, in structure & muscularity, and gives her an added benefit that the females she competes against, don't have.. If they took testosterone to "bulk up", they would be disqualified.
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imdjh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 11:35 PM
Response to Reply #40
50. BINGO!!!! Where there is money on the line- there are rules and the money makes... .
... the rules.
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BlooInBloo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 07:53 PM
Response to Original message
43. Name correction noted. Now - should they be in women's sports? Men's?
Neither (not allowed to play)? Or should we just do away with gendered sports across the board?

I don't think it's an easy question to answer, and everything I see has people simply avoiding the question entirely.
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Gwendolyn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 07:57 PM
Response to Original message
44. The quote from Semenya is quoted completely out of context.

That comes from a cover and spread she did following a "beauty makeover" right after the controversy started. At that time she hadn't received the news, which of course was leaked to the world in the most reprehensible fashion. She is currently traumatized by the whole thing and is being closely monitored. I hope she comes out of it soon and is able to say the same words knowing what she does now and regardless of how the press has treated her.
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Lisa0825 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 08:24 PM
Response to Original message
46. I have an honest question. Please don't pummel me.
In most circumstances, being intersexed would not matter one bit. But in sports, I have read about how it could be an issue. For someone competing as a woman to have many times the amount of testosterone that women typically have could give her an advantage, as far as building muscle/strength. However, this same competitor would be at a disadvantage if competing with men, who have much more testosterone naturally.

Do I have this right? If so, what is the answer? How should the sports community (including the Olympic system) treat individuals who are intersexed in order to be fair them and to all?
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Gwendolyn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 11:58 PM
Response to Reply #46
51. Testosterone doesn't only aid in muscle building.

Women don't just take steroids just to build huge muscle, but also to vastly decrease necessary recuperation time so that a woman can train harder, longer. She can also eat massive quantities of nutritious foods while easily burning off excess calories and reducing her fat %, another plus. That's why women use them even for sports that don't require hulking competitors.

A female athlete taking steroids probably still wouldn't consistently beat out a highly trained male athlete, but she has a significant edge over the "clean" female.

I don't think there is a "fair" answer for the intersexed when it comes to questions like competitive sports. It isn't really fair to the other competitors if they compete, unless I suppose, the other females were allowed to level the playing field by being openly allowed to take steroids. There are always tragic stories and dashed hopes, and these come in many forms. Is it fair that a naturally gifted athlete should be kept from his/her dreams because of poverty/lack of funding or any other reason? What about the talented but heavier-boned, shorter ballerina who will never grace the stage because her body structure is not popular? It's just too bad. Sorry to sound harsh, but that's the way it is.
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