Gender testing at the Olympics is controversial and complex because gender is complex. The rules on gender testing were originally brought in to prevent men competing in women’s events. Tests have previously used hair patterns, genes and chromosomes, or other factors, but these all have issues, and at this year’s Olympics, eligibility testing has been based on testosterone levels. Women generally have testosterone levels of somewhere below 3 nanomoles per litre, and the IOC is using the range of 7-30 nanomoles per litre (the normal male range). This takes the focus away from gender, pushing it towards the unfair advantage that the higher levels of testosterone would offer. However, this may still be unethical, as women with androgen insensitivity may have increased levels but cannot make use of the hormone.

Olympic Games 27 July – 12 August

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