Genetic Tests Under Fire

A sports panel says a glance in the pants is enough to determine the sex of an athlete

Spanish hurdler Maria Jose Martinez Patino never doubted her femininity until she arrived in Kobe, Japan, in 1985 to compete at the World University Games. Like all female athletes participating in international tournaments, she had to take a genetic sex-determination test, aimed at preventing men in drag from unfairly competing against women. Though Patino had passed such an exam in the past, she had forgotten to bring along proof. This time, to her amazement, she failed. The first test had evidently been botched. Patino, though clearly a female anatomically, is, at a genetic level, just as clearly a man. She was...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!