Indian advocates appeal sports authorities to "Let Dutee run!"

Earlier this summer, Dutee Chand, an Indian national champion sprinter, was disqualified from the Commonwealth Games because, according to the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), her levels of androgen (testosterone) are too high. Dutee hasn’t doped or cheated; her hormone levels are naturally occurring.

The policy states that women whose bodies produce what the IAAF says is too much natural testosterone cannot compete unless they lower their levels with surgery or drugs. These medical procedures are medically unnecessary and harmful in the near and long term to both their health and ability to compete. In simple terms, they punish women for having too much natural testosterone. The earlier sex testing policies sought to determine if someone was really a woman; this policy tries to tell us if someone is “woman enough.”

The Sports Authority of India is appealing Chand’s disqualification and says that the policy is unethical, unscientific, and unfair, and because it disproportionately burdens athletes from the Global South. Chand, and India, are the first to formally challenge this policy, which was implemented in 2011 by the IAAF and in 2012 by the International Olympic Committee.

The story has been getting more and more media attention. Here's what espnW's Kate Fagan had to say:

There is nothing "fair" about what's happening to Chand. The IOC's policy is discriminatory -- it is gender policing of women, plain and simple, and has previously ended with an unsuspecting young woman, often from a country in the Global South, undergoing a harmful medical procedure that many would call female genital mutilation. (See here and here.) And as Rebecca Jordan-Young, a professor at Columbia, and Katrina Karkazis, a professor at Stanford, wrote in The New York Times in 2012: "Scientifically, there is no clear or objective way to draw a bright line between male and female."


Add your name to a petition, calling on the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) to let Dutee Chand run! This not only calls on the IAAF, but also the International Olympic Committee and other international and national sports federations to create a coordinated process to abolish eligibility restrictions on women with naturally high testosterone.