New policies for Olympic and other international athletes set an upper limit to the amount of testosterone considered "normal" for a woman, and require those women who have natural levels of T that are higher than this to have medical interventions to lower their levels. If the women are found to be intersex, these interventions include surgical removal of their gonads, and (though this has NO relation to testosterone production) surgical reduction of their clitorises if these are deemed "enlarged."
This is just crazy.
Some facts: first, levels of testosterone vary a lot. Tests of elite
athletes show that about 17% of male athletes have testosterone in the
"female range" and 14% of female athletes have testosterone in the "male
range." Secondly, there is no direct correlation between levels of T
and athletic performance; that's simplistic and nearly magical thinking.
And third, it makes no sense to define the range of "normal" T levels
for women very narrowly (15 - 70 ng/dL) and for men very broadly (300
-1,000 ng/dL), in essence saying that there's no such thing as a natural
level of testosterone too high in a man, but there is such a thing for a
Bodies vary a great deal. Why do we focus obsessively
on policing the sexed body of athletes, rather than on other
"abnormalities?" Basketball players are abnormally tall, which actually does enhance their performance. Many gymnasts
are double-jointed and abnormally flexible. In fact, most any sport
rewards people with atypical bodies, and we *celebrate* that. But when
it comes to sex variance, a variation that is associated with high
performance more in fantasy than in fact is suddenly subject to extreme
bodily policing, and that's just wrong.