CeCe Telfer, a transgender athlete has been in the news for failing to qualify for the 400m hurdles event at the Olympics, and it was not because of not running fast enough during the trials, but because a blood test revealed that her testosterone was too high. As a transgender athlete--having competed in men's events earlier--this was not altogether surprising.
The question of transgender athletes is an emotive one, as on the one hand there is the diversity and inclusion objective, and on the other there is the objective of fairness. The former means that the cultural identity of the athlete (gender) be respected, while the latter means that nobody should have an unfair advantage, and the biological identity (sex) matters, for a man competing in a woman's event in any physical activity is an unfair advantage.
There are no easy answers of course, and policy requires straightforward measurable benchmarks. So the level of testosterone in the blood has emerged as the key standard. An example is this disqualification because Telfer's testosterone level was above five monopoles per litre which the world athletics body has determined as the cut-off for 'maleness.'
This brings testosterone front and centre as the male hormone all over again. While women have, and need, testosterone, the levels are different. Cultural debate (gender) has found a biological marker, and that meeting is absolutely fascinating. We have talked about earlier how other cultural events (outcome of a sporting contest, or indeed the elections) influence testosterone levels among male supporters, and this makes that discussion much more current.
It also serves as an important reminder for men to take a quick self-assessment to evaluate whether, as they age, they may do better to find a path to increasing testosterone levels to preserve, well, 'maleness.' In this short quiz below, you can find this out for yourself in less than four minutes, and also index your experience to other men who have taken this assessment.Know more about testosterone