Jdsk wrote:A confession: I teach this stuff and examine on it, and used to be part of teams which provided clinical care and management, including those in the country's most famous children's hospital.
I don't know anyone in the fields of either discovering how sexual differentiation works or caring for children or adults where all the components of differentiation don't line up who uses this sort of dogmatic language about "biological sex" or what people "really" are. Instead they describe genes, chromosomes, gonads, other internal genitalia, external genitalia, endocrine status, sex allocated at birth, sex currently allocated and psychological orientation. Then they move onto treatment options and their advantages and disadvantages and personal preferences, and if the patient is a child the parental preferences.
It's often very difficult.
Not really sure your point here. I observed above that while we can learn that someone who has a certain disorder of sexual development is preferentially raised as male, but many will in fact have been raised as female and continue to be, and that for those people it is true that they are female in a meaningful sense, even if they are male in some other senses.
I don't think it's dogmatic to observe that testes are exclusively male gonads, so for example it's misleading and political to describe someone like Caster Semenya as having hyperandrogenism, in that Caster Semenya's testosterone levels are normal for people with testes and are not harmful to their health, whereas they would be indicative of very serious health problems requiring medical treatment for people with ovaries. The fact that Caster Semenya is biologically male is not so much 'dogmatic' as a matter of observable fact. Of course there is a difference between Caster Semenya, who obtains an androgenizing effect from testicular testosterone, and an athlete who has testes, but obtains no such effect due to AIS.
It's not dogmatic to say that both of these people are biologically male, even if our laws say they are female for non-sporting purposes.
That these people are biologically male does not mean we should say that they cannot participate as females, but there's no point in wishy-washy hand-waving in that while disordered male biology can result in a female phenotype, we can't just assert that they are female without further qualification, because it's simply untrue in some senses of the word. Caster Semenya has a condition which will often result in the production of viable sperm, and can never ever produce eggs.
That Caster Semenya is a woman might be true in some sense of that word, but it is not sufficient in the context of sport where we divide people not on the basis of whether they like Barbie dolls or GI Joes, but on the clear binary basis between those humans with ovaries producing large amounts of female sex steroids, and those humans with testes producing large amounts of male sex steroids. We might not say that this is the reason, preferring 'male' and 'female' sport, but it is the differential gonadal production of sex steroids during puberty that results in large size and strength differences between the sexes, not simply 'being female', which as I observed might be true of someone with an abnormal genotype that is best raised as male but may be raised as female.
Hence it is necessary to be at least somewhat dogmatic in some senses, not when dealing with the medical treatment of people with genetic disorders, but at least in contexts where safety and fairness are important, because if we do not have an objective standard for difficult cases, such as where we house prisoners, or who we allow to compete in sport, we undermine safety & fairness pursuant to an untestable claim.
And that is therefore not to say 'Caster Semenya is a man', but that 'while Caster Semenya was raised as female, Caster Semenya has male gonads producing high-male normal levels of testosterone, which presents a fairness issue when competing against people who have female gonads producing typically 40x less testosterone'.
And we can also say 'Laurel Hubbard went through male puberty, competed as male, now identifies as female, but has no genetic disorder distinguishing Laurel Hubbard from other males, and therefore it would not be fair for Laurel Hubbard to compete with people with female gonads'.
We are not obligated to exclude everyone who has/had male gonads from female sport. But it should at least be a starting point, until we can prove that they don't have an advantage.