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Tennis Controversy: Female Player (with Male Past)

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AOL Health: Who does a person born with both male and female sex organs, but who identifies as one gender, compete against in sex-segregated sporting events?

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Sarah Gronert, a 22-year-old tennis pro from Germany who was born with both male and female genitalia, has chosen to compete against women, and that has some in the tennis community up in arms. "There is no girl who can hit serves like that, not even Venus Williams," says the coach of an opponent Gronert recently beat. The coach, Schlomo Tzoref, also claims, "This is not a woman, it's a man." Is Tzoref just a disgruntled coach, trying to stir up controversy, or is there any validity to his claim? What makes a man a man, and what makes a woman a woman -- and how does being either affect one's ability to win?

The Olympics has one answer; the WTA has another; across the board at national and international levels there seems to be a free-for-all in deciding how to allow players who do not fit into the binary division of traditionally defined female and male to compete. Meanwhile, science has its own explanations and advice for the sports community.

Sarah Gronert, 22, is ranked 619 in the world. According to Fanhouse, at age 19 harsh treatment from peers about her ambiguous-gendered past almost led her to quit tennis.

Read more hot stories Moms Are Talking About.


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10 comments so far | Post a comment now
ev  March 21, 2009, 7:09 PM

It is hard to tell in this era who is “man” and who is “woman” the sex of a person can sometimes give advantages in some sports or in some general activities. In many cases it will matter. there are wonderful toys that helps I find www.slumberpartiesbyevelyn.com for weddings and just girls night out party . Sex matters but there are toys to even the playing field

Gail Cooke March 21, 2009, 11:24 PM

I think that the coach’s concerns are valid. I realize that the person has male and female genitalia and identifies with the female gender. Sometimes though, the physical characteristics match an opposing gender.

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