With the advent of the Olympics in Rio, we have seen a wave of discriminatory attitudes against intersex women in the press, disguised as “concern” over the fact that women with naturally high testosterone levels (known as hyperandrogenism) will be competing, without taking unnecessary drugs to lower their T levels. In case you are new to this issue, you can find a dearth of articles about it (in the “sport” section under “topics” at oii-usa.org) which examine how all the top scientists have found, after years of research, that having high levels of natural testosterone does NOT give women athletes a competitive advantage. Yet, their vilification continues, and some, like Shanthi, are still suffering from having their career and livelihood stripped from them.
OII-USA has always stood against this discrimination against intersex women athletes, with our E.D. lobbying for their rights since 2009 (as then OII World’s Human Rights Spokesperson), on television, in print, and as a participant at the IOC’s 2010 Meeting of experts on the topic. In 2012, as OII-USA E.D. and OII World Chair, Viloria brought the issue, and all intersex human rights abuses, to the attention of the UN’s Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights, mentioning Caster and Shanthi by name, in a letter signed by almost every intersex organization in the world, and has published on the issue in numerous venues such as the American Journal of Bioethics, Ms. magazine, the New York Times, and The Advocate.
We have made much progress in educating the world that intersex people deserve to be treated equally, and that intersex women with hyperandrogegism do not have an “unfair advantage”, but there is more work to be done. Please show that you denounce this kind discrimination and support intersex women athletes being treated equally by signing the petition to restore #Justice for Shanthi Soundarajan!