Prof. Rebecca Jordan-Young, associate professor of women’s gender and sexuality studies, and Katrina Karkazis, a senior research scholar at the Center for Biomedical Ethics at Stanford University, contributed an op-ed to The New York Times about the stigmas facing female athletes with high testosterone, or ‘high T.’ While many sports officials argue that screening and treating female athletes with high T is necessary to maintain a level playing field, Prof. Jordan-Young and Ms. Karkazis suggest that penalizing these athletes by subjecting them to medical treatment is unethical and unnecessary. An excerpt:
“[The] policy places a disproportionate burden on poor women who may have limited career opportunities and are likely to face enormous pressure to submit to these interventions in order to continue their athletic careers. Under the current policies, more and more female athletes with naturally high T levels will be confronted with these harsh choices — and not just at the elite level. The I.O.C. requires that each country’s Olympic committee investigate cases of female athletes with high T levels before naming them to national teams. Some countries, like India, now apply such policies to all female athletes, not just those competing internationally.”
Prof. Jordan-Young is a sociomedical scientist whose work includes social epidemiology studies of HIV/AIDS, and evaluation of biological work on sex, gender and sexuality. She is the author of Brain Storm: The Flaws in the Science of Sex Differences.