Asking the Right Questions about Intersex Athletes

In part 1 of this 2 part series Denny Burk, Professor of Biblical Studies at Boyce College, tackles the intersex condition called 5-ARD that affects male sexual development.  If you missed the headlines, an intersex athlete competed against females in the 2016 Olympic games and won a gold medal.  Burk writes:

Olympic medalAs the Olympics wound up last week, there were numerous reports about an Olympic runner whose sex was a point of controversy. It is reported that this athlete has an intersex condition called 5-ARD and has the testosterone level of a man. The athlete competed as a woman and won the gold medal in the 800m by a jaw-dropping margin of victory. The athlete not only looks like a man but also competes like one.

Even though the athlete’s name is in the news, I hesitate to mention it here. The reports I’ve read say that the athlete has never discussed the topic publicly, and it appears that news stories about the athlete’s intersex condition and testosterone levels have been the result of leaks and not the result of the athlete’s willing disclosure. So I will focus here on the issues raised by this controversy and not on this particular athlete.

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