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South Korea was my first World Championship. I was very, very happy to go on with the sport and going to another level.


Preparing for London Olympics // me, plus my coach, // we were working very hard // so that our dreams come true. Because our dream was to reach the finals. As long as we reached to the finals, anything can happen then.


Some few weeks to the departure for the London Olympics that’s the time when I received a call from my international manager telling me // my blood sample, they're having some problem, technical problem and you can't go for the competition.


Annet’s natural testosterone level was higher than the regulated range for women athletes.


My local officials from my federation told me me that // you have to stay at home, not moving. And if anyone asks you tell them that you have an injury, whereby I was a person who was injury free, I was very normal, I wasn't sick.


One official from the IAAF [International Association of Athletics Federations] // he tried to reach me and after some few weeks I think, they had me travel to Nice for a body checkup. Like measuring my whole body and putting me to a machine, just like scanning my whole body and getting more other blood samples from me.


I was something which was really confused. // Like as if there were people who were not talking straight to you telling you that this and this is like this, but just telling you do this, do this, do this.


Later in Kampala, Annet underwent a procedure that she thought would mean she could run again.


Going to the doctor with an executive from the [national] federation because she was with me, escorting me, going to the hospital, they took me to the operation room. // And they said that they are going to use the injection thing, whereby by waking up // I'm finding myself I'm having cuts. //


I said, whoa! They have done something which we didn't agree on. And really, I was so scared.


Annet’s internal sex organs had been removed.


The procedure is irreversible and causes sterilization.


The people who are there with me, taking me to the hospital, who wanted me to do such. After the operation, no one come back to me to see what really... No one came in to do a follow-up.


No one explained to me what's really the truth. It something which was just… Making me to go in their trap. I call it trap because it was a trap.


Took me seven years without nothing. As in, they didn't give me straight information that after the surgery, you have to go for hormone therapy throughout the whole of your life. // Really that was so hard on me. // For seven years no one's coming to look for you, for seven new years no one is minding to know where you are. It was really a strange life.


As soon as you pass here, you start slowing down the pace.

Sort of focus on the stride length.


Keep the body moving, you know what I mean? That you feel that the body is moving at the same pace.


Testosterone regulations in sport cause significant harm and disproportionately impact women from the Global South.


Why are they focusing too much to people of the Southern continent? That shows that [there’s] discriminating and racism in the sport. Because all of us we are human beings, and we are females. What I can say, let them stop taking people's or playing on people's bodies. Making people to be guinea pigs and doing their research on human beings and violating human rights.


My dream at first was taken away from me. But with God, I trust that it will come back to me. And now I came back for training and I’m already in the process. I’m working for it again.


I have to fight for my dream. I have to fight for it. That's my future now. I'm focusing on my dream, which was taken away [by] the IAAF regulations.

(New York) – Women track and field athletes will be subjected to tight surveillance based on gender stereotypes under a new set of global regulations, the latest in a series of arbitrary and increasingly restrictive policies, Human Rights Watch said today.

World Athletics, the international body governing athletics competitions, approved a new version of its “Eligibility Regulations for the Female Classification” on March 23, 2023. The new rules, which go into force on March 31, require women with higher than typical testosterone, and certain diagnoses of variations in their sex characteristics and hormonal sensitivity to go through medical procedures to reduce their testosterone levels to 2.5 nanomoles/liter for 24 months to be eligible to compete as women in any athletics event. These regulations are not based on any new scientific studies and have no apparent objective basis.

“Just like previous versions, these new regulations will coerce women to undergo unnecessary medical intervention to alter their hormone levels simply because their naturally occurring testosterone is atypical,” said Minky Worden, director of global initiatives at Human Rights Watch. “Surveilling, stigmatizing, and stereotyping are intrinsic to these sex testing regulations.”

The tightening of World Athletics “DSD” policy – referring to the medical term “Differences of Sex Development” – effectively forces more medically unnecessary and often harmful interventions on perfectly healthy athletes as a condition for competing, Human Rights Watch said. It also expands a system of surveillance over the bodies of all women athletes.

Human Rights Watch research found past iterations of the same regulations encouraged abusive sex testing, discrimination, surveillance, and coerced medical intervention on women athletes, resulting in physical and psychological injury and economic hardship. Women perceived to be “too masculine” may become targets of suspicion and gossip and may be forced to end their athletic careers prematurely. The standards of femininity applied are often deeply racially biased, research has found.

There is no scientific consensus that women with naturally higher testosterone have a performance advantage in all sports. Athletes’ bodies exhibit a range of advantageous traits, some of them linked to sex characteristics, but certainly not all. Despite a wide range of testosterone levels among men, there have never been analogous regulations for male athletes.

Previous versions of these same World Athletics regulations, which allowed for a higher testosterone level and were only applied to certain events, are currently being challenged in the European Court of Human Rights by the South African runner Caster Semenya.

At a news conference announcing the new regulations, World Athletics President Sebastian Coe told reporters that under the new regulations, 13 women who were currently planning to compete in the August 2023 World Championships would become ineligible.

The fact that World Athletics can point to 13 currently competing athletes and know they will be ineligible speaks to the extent of surveillance on all women athletes’ bodies already happening under the current regulations, which is likely to get worse under the new regulations, Human Rights Watch said.

Throughout the history of sex testing, sports regulators have caused harm to women athletes. In 1985, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) disqualified a Spanish hurdler, Maria José Martínez-Patiño, after officials subjected her to sex testing using chromosomal tests. The officials deemed her “chromosomally male” and barred her from competition. Her test results were leaked to the media.

Following that controversy, the IOC began testing for what is called the “testis development,” or SRY gene, the idea being that this was the key to screen “sexually ambiguous” athletes from the women’s category. Using this test, officials classified some women as men, including eight women in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.

Then, following pressure from medical organizations and the Olympics’ Athletes’ Commission, the IOC decided to stop mandatory sex testing of all women, though some federations continued the practice based on suspicion – that is, testing women they thought might not pass a sex test.

Suspicion-based testing is inherent in the World Athletics regulations, which have resulted in profiling and targeting women according to gender stereotypes. Women perceived to be too “masculine” may become targets of suspicion, stigma, and whisper campaigns with detrimental effects.

The underlying stereotypes that drive targeting are deeply racialized. Under the veneer of scientific legitimacy, some women are ensnared in abusive and medically unnecessary tests and exams. These are overwhelmingly women of color from Africa and South Asia. The result can be exclusion from competitive athletics and the elimination of their livelihoods.

The then-United Nations high commissioner for human rights, Michelle Bachelet, warned in her 2020 report: “History demonstrates that, because these regulations are applied in hundreds of countries, among many actors, it is impossible to guarantee privacy.”

In 2021, the IOC passed a “Framework on Fairness, Inclusion, and Non-Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity and Sex Variations” following a years-long process, including consultations with affected athletes. The framework called on individual sporting federations to undertake a process to determine their own policies and gave strong human rights guidance.

The IOC said that “Criteria to determine disproportionate competitive advantage may, at times, require testing an athlete’s performance and physical capacity. However, no athlete should be subject to targeted testing of, or aimed at determining, their sex, gender identity, and/or sex variations.”

“The World Athletics regulations amount to policing women’s bodies based on arbitrary definitions of femininity,” Worden said. “What we have now is a system that is subjecting all women athletes’ bodies to surveillance. Identifying relevant athletes through observation and suspicion creates a situation in which women athletes’ bodies are scrutinized, while no such scrutiny is applied to men.”

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