Those who are for whatever reason sore about the upholding of this decision are some of the most inarticulate and biased people I have yet encountered.
Certainly this case involves on some level an issue that is currently in vogue, namely gender—but the raising of the gender issue is only a consequence of the decision, and not related to the substance thereof.
T level was picked for legal reasons that derive from generally-respected principles of human rights and justice including rational relation to the objective, proportionality, etc. It is because of those principles that the condition was limited to distances for which those principles could be satisfied.
Male and female label issues only come into play because of the traditional labels applied to competitive categories. The labels are only descriptive, and in this situation have no further meaning.
Let’s assume arguendo that all athletes are, and always have been, clean, just to get a level picture. The interesting thing is that none of the best women’s category performances would be challenging WC or Oly qualifying marks for the men’s category.
Forget about obviously doped athletes for a moment, in the female category. The “best of the rest” female category performances are sometimes done by XY, XXY, whatever (non-XX) athletes. They are better than their clean competitors...but probably still not as good as those clean XY competitors competing in the men’s division.
Why is that? It is because they choose not to compete in the men’s category because they know they would not be competitive, and probably wouldn’t even make the cut. Understand that there are, and always have been, kids like this who HAVE competed in boys’ categories, but does anybody know of any who have gone on to compete at a higher level, say NCAA Div I or higher? I personally am unaware of any.
These are people who start out free to compete in either category, and who at some point are left with the female category as their only option at a high level—and that high level is what they want, because it comes with rewards like fame, travel, money, and privileges. At the time at which they find they are not or would not be competitive in the male category, they continue to compete in, or they switch to, the female category in order to ascend the levels of competition—rather than competing in the men’s category at a lower level, or even in mixed fields that happen often at the level of all-comer’s and masters meets.
And make no mistake, this is all about rewards—both personal and national. In that sense, an athlete like Semenya is no different from an athlete like Kratochvilova—not competitive in the men’s category, but clearly better than anybody else (except similar athletes) in the female category.
IMO if a person has developed as have, and continues to exhibit the same characteristics relevant to their chosen athletic endeavor as do, most athletes in the male category, they should be required to compete in that category—and that includes an un-modified Semenya. A package or the absence thereof is not a characteristic that is relevant to athletics endeavors, no matter what the reason for an athlete’s “package status”.
It is difficult, if not impossible, to change how a person has developed once they are an adult, so the only way to excuse an athlete from being required to compete in the men’s category is the second element, the characteristics relevant to the endeavor. T level is such a characteristic, is objective, and can easily be manipulated.
Because there are only two current categories, there is only one competitive category available after having been excused from the men’s category: women’s. Only time will tell if this is a fair and reasonable outcome, as we have yet to see the level of performance achieved by various modified athletes.
IMO a third competitive category should only be developed if the modified athletes prove to be the best, or consistently among the top, of the women’s category.
Side note: should doped women then be able to compete in the men’s category if they meet standard? That is, a true “open” category? Maybe, only if they stay within limits that apply to all competitors in that category. In that case doping by anybody would have to be allowed, up to a certain limit. Many have advocated for this exact outcome, but it makes competition unfair to those who have no access to supplementation, or for whom ot may prove harmful—the young, the poor, etc. At this point this is an academic discussion at the highest levels, because doped women’s performances are not (yet) on a par with men’s standards.