Worley was eventually granted approval to enter in for a chance to cycle in the Bejing 2008 Olympics. But first, she had to undergo mandatory hormone treatment outlined by the IOC's Medical Commission—which, according to Worley, "lacks specific scientific research when it comes to women with my hormone levels."After undergoing hormone therapy that complied with the regulated mandate for trans female athletes by the International Olympic Committee, Worley's body was in a state of complete hormone deprivation. She claims that the amount of androgens prescribed was much too low for an athletic female, causing her to suffer immediate menopausal symptoms and muscle disrepair, among other serious health problems. Worley's Olympic dream had shattered.
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The IOC hyperandrogenism [androgen excess] regulations are systematically reviewed after each edition of the Games and amended if necessary to ensure that they take into account any new developments."Anais Bohuon, professor of sports and sociology at the University of South Paris and author of The Gender Test in Sporting Competitions: A Classified History X? told Broadly that while testosterone is hailed as "the most exclusive marker" to determine whether an individual is defined as a man or a woman, it is "not considered a key molecule in athleticism" and is not wholly responsible for determining sporting ability. Even evidence collected by the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) itself supports Bohuon's claim, when hormone levels of 849 elite high-performing female athletes showed them to have "normative androgen serum values."Trans athletes like Worley aren't the only ones who face questions over their gender identity. It also happens to those who were, for all intents and purposes, born and raised female.
I can compare myself with any woman because I am a woman. It is not only how I feel, but who I am and how my body is.
The Indian Olympic Association did not respond to requests for comment.In 2009, ostracized from her village and branded a cheat by the world's media, Soundarajan attempted suicide by ingesting poison. Miraculously, she recovered but was faced with a bleak future and a succession of manual labor jobs, earning just $2 per hour.Gopi Shankar, a human rights campaigner and scholar from Madurai, southern India is an avid Santhi supporter. On hearing of her disqualification, Shankar, who founded the Srishti support service for India's LGBTQIA community, has helped Soundarajan challenge the Indian authorities.
If I was a man that intended to trick someone, I would have retired discreetly.
While sporting authorities reconsidered their stance on gender for Maria Patino, the fight continues for athletes with genitals deemed to be 'irregular.' Just three years ago, after the London Olympics, the New York Times reported that four Olympic athletes aged between 18 and 21—all from developing countries—were investigated by sports officials in Montpelier, France after showing high levels of testosterone. According to the Times, tests showed that the female athletes possessed internal male testes and the four women agreed for doctors to remove the organs as well as partially remove their clitorises.The IAAF later denied these claims, telling sports website Inside the Games that "not one athlete was investigated at London 2012 and found to have had hyperandrogenism." The organization told Broadly that they are presently "not in the position to comment on any matters concerning the eligibility of athletes to compete in women's competition."Santhi Soundarajan, Maria Martinez-Patino and women with similar genetic conditions are proof that gender is not as binary as sporting authorities would have you believe. For Kristen Worley, the fact that a Human Rights Court will finally learn of her case is about so much more than sport."This case is going to help so many people, " she says, "we're going to have better healthcare and better ways of helping and understanding children and young people who are having issues with gender identity… Me—and so many other women—have had to go through horrible things in order for this day to come." Worley may have given up her cycling licence, but the prospect of justice is the ultimate prize."For me, right now," she says, "this is my gold medal moment."
Me—and so many other women—have had to go through horrible things in order for this day to come.