Opinion Paper: How Do You Determine Gender?
Within our day and age, many scientific practices such as abortion have been contested due to social and ethical morals. A controversial topic which emerged in the mid-1960s was the gender-verification of female athletes competing internationally. The International Olympic Committee alongside the International Amateur Athletics Federation established a mandatory test for females to ensure their “femininity”. Athletes with an unfair “male advantage” were disqualified. Over the years, these tests have evaluated multiple gender categorizations including anatomy, physiology, chromosomal makeup, genetic makeup, gender identity, and gender role behaviour. One form of gender identification pertaining to genetic makeup was established for all females by the International Olympic Committee in 1992. The athletes were tested for presence of the SRY gene (sex-determining region Y), which is found Y-chromosome, in order to identify males possibly disguised as females. SRY, also known as the “testis-determining factor” (TDF), is responsible for the differentiation of the sexually indifferent human embryo six to eight weeks after fertilization. SRY does not solely contain all the information required for development of a male. Instead, it codes for a transcription factor, a protein that controls expressions of other genes. In accordance, the testes produce specific male hormones that influence the completion of male development. The testes contain several specific cell types, including the Leydig and Sertoli cells. Leydig cells produce testosterone, initiating the production of the male sex organs including the seminal vesicles, vas deferens, and epididymis. Sertoli produce a hormone called Anti- Mü...
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...s female genitalia and breasts but absence of internal female sex organs and menstrual cycle. In conclusion, the SRY test is an invalid and unfair examination to determine one’s gender because although athletes may be SRY+, that does not mean they have an advantage over other female athletes. Based on Santhi’s result on the test I picked, I believe there is not enough evidence to determine whether or not Santhi is a male or female. If she does not have CAIS, it would be logical to conclude she is a man who went under a sex reassignment surgery. If that was the case, then Santhi’s masculine advantages such as larger muscle mass and lung capacity make it unfair for other female competitors and she deserves to have been stripped of her medal. If she does have CAIS then she should be accepted by the Asian Games medal committee, and deserves to keep her silver medal.
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