For the Dignity of Santhi Soundarajan
Canadian cyclist Kristen Worley has been campaigning to address gender testing policies in sport and co-founded Coalition of Athletes for Inclusion in Sport last year to help athletes like Caster Semenya recover their dignity.
Recently, she’s been speaking out to help Santhi Soundarajan, a track runner from India who was stripped of her silver medal at the 2006 Asian Games because gender tests showed she had Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome (AIS) — a condition which causes her body to produce higher amounts of testosterone, but also causes her body to receive absolutely no benefit from testosterone at all. Soundarajan attempted suicide following the controversy.
Worley is in India to speak to the IAAF and Sports Minister about her situation and advocate for her reinstatement in womens’ sport. While there, she did an interview:
Caster is born with CAH, which means her adrenal glands hyper-perform, and so she produces a higher level of androgens (testosterone). Testosterone, socially presented, is solely a male hormone. Though, in fact, it is a female one, too, produced within women’s ovaries and adrenal glands. Women’s ovaries are men’s testicles. The difference is, women produce lower levels of testosterone than men, but it is a necessary hormone for all women and men to live healthy lives. Once you understand this, you realize Caster’s gender was never in question. Caster does not need any intervention to compete. She is not competitively advantaged as suggested…. Santhi’s case is much worse. She was left to fend for herself and, because of the humiliation even tried to take her life. She had no competitive advantage.
The Times of India has the full text of the interview. It is worth reading.