Third, the policy appears to be out of whack with another IOC policy known as "the Stockholm Consensus," designed for dealing with male-to-female transsexual athletes. That policy requires transgender women -- women who were raised as boys -- to medically
squash their androgen levels way down, seemingly well below where the policy on "female hyperandrogenism" would likely allow intersex women raised as girls
to still play.
And whereas the female hyperandrogenism policy hints that a women with one of the "problem" intersex conditions might be chucked out if her medical records
indicate she's benefitted from a lifetime of male-typical functional androgens, the Stockholm Consensus allows transgender women with those same lifetime
androgen histories to play, so long as they have endocrinologically obeyed the IOC's rules for their womanhood for the previous couple of years.
In spite of these problems with the new IOC policy, and even though I fully support the right of any individual to self-identify socially as any gender she
or he wishes, I find myself sympathetic to the Anatomists' philosophy in this case. Here's why:
Our history of liberal democracy demonstrates a grand trend with regard to the
relationship between anatomy and identity, and that is the trend away from using anatomy to draw distinctions in identities where social and
political rights are concerned. The Founding Fathers started this trend by challenging the idea that power must derive from bloodline. The women's rights
movement, the civil rights movement, the disability rights movement -- all have successfully dismantled the idea that anatomical difference should mean
some people are treated as more worthy of rights and resources than others. As Drs. King and Seuss taught us, in a just and rational world, having a star on your belly doesn't make you special.
Sport has been used as one way to push this liberalizing agenda -- with Title IX and major league racial integration standing as two good examples of the
push. The Identifiers are now trying to do the same thing in the debate on sex testing, and in doing so, are making what might be the most extreme version
of the anti-anatomy argument: we should not bother thinking about sex anatomy at all, and just let anyone who says she's a woman play as a woman.
But maybe here we've finally hit the limit of using sport for this kind of social agenda. I mean, sure, we could do it -- we could force sport to keep
being the Joan of Arc of liberal democracy, and so we could decide common biological sex differences don't matter to gender divisions in sports. But if we
do this, in the process we may be neutering sport itself.
Because at the end of the day, no matter how little we think anatomy should matter to one's social and political rights, surely we can't pretend biology
doesn't matter in sports. Surely there's a reason we don't let adults play in the t-ball leagues, and a reason most women athletes want their own leagues.