Re “The Troubling History of Olympics Sex Testing,” by Michael Waters (Opinion guest essay, June 23):

To the Editor:

The author argues that “all athletes should have a realistic path to participation in their lived gender category,” in part because male-born athletes competing against women do not have physical advantages and because biological sex exists on a “spectrum.”

But consider this. The 20-fold boost in testosterone that occurs during male puberty creates a significant, and lasting, athletic advantage for individuals born male. According to the Independent Women’s Forum’s Competition Report, studies indicate that post-pubescent males can jump 25 percent higher than females, throw 25 percent further than females, run 11 percent faster than females, and accelerate 20 percent faster than females.

And while a small subset of individuals are born with differences in sex development (often labeled “intersex”), sex itself is binary, and these instances do not create additional sexes.

Sex verification will be in full force at the Paris Olympics only because women’s sports exist. A free-for-all is certainly possible, but we know which sex would lose opportunities that have been long denied and hard-earned.

May Mailman
The writer is the director of the Independent Women’s Law Center.