Rights group demands end to sex testing of female athletes | More sports News – Times of India


With the Tokyo Olympics approaching in July, Human Rights Watch on Friday demanded track and field officials halt sex testing of female athletes, describing the practice of measuring and restricting their natural testosterone levels as abusive and harmful.
In 2018, track and field’s world governing body instituted its latest rules regarding intersex athletes like Caster Semenya of South Africa, a two-time Olympic champion runner at 800 meters. The regulations have inflamed debates about biological sex, gender identity and fair play.
Semenya and others who have what are called differences of sexual development are required to suppress naturally elevated testosterone levels – through hormonal therapy or surgery – before competing internationally in women’s running races at distances from the quarter mile to the mile.
World Athletics, track and field’s governing body, acknowledges that the restrictions are discriminatory but says they are necessary to ensure a level playing field.
Semenya, who identifies as a woman and has declined to undergo testosterone suppression, has lost appeals before the Court of Arbitration for Sport, based in Switzerland, and the Swiss Supreme Court. Last month, her lawyers said she would take her case to the European Court of Human Rights, though it is unclear if any decision can be reached before the Tokyo Games, scheduled to start July 23. Otherwise, Semenya, 29, has suggested she will try to run the 200, an event free of the restrictions, at the Olympics.
In a report, Human Rights Watch amplified what critics of the current testosterone regulations have long argued: that they are medically unnecessary and humiliating; encourage coerced medical intervention; can result in physical and psychological injury and the loss of careers; violate fundamental rights to privacy, dignity, health, non-discrimination and employment; and adhere to standards of femininity that are racially biased, disproportionately affecting women of colour from Africa, Asia, Latin America and Oceania.
Human Rights Watch called on World Athletics to immediately rescind its testosterone regulations.
In a statement, World Athletics said the regulations provide “an objective and scientific measure” to preserve equitable competition.
The International Olympic Committee said it was working on guidelines to “ensure fairness, safety and non-discrimination of athletes on the basis of gender identity and sex characteristics.”



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