Biography of Foekje Dillema: English summary

In the last century several dozen female athletes were expelled for life for having a Y-chromosome. Approximately one in 450 female athletes are phenotype female, but genotype male. In other words, look like women, but with both 'female' and 'male' DNA. It's a rare syndrome, but less rare on the track and tennis courts. Foekje Dillema (1928 - 2007) was one of the tragic cases in sports history. She refused to go to a madatory sex test and was expelled from competition for life.

Gender verification by the IAAF or the IOC is highly controversial. It's discriminatory and causes great trauma for girls who never doubted their gender. Foekje Dillema did not dare leave her house for two years after being expelled from competition in 1950. She refused to speak on the subject for the rest of her life. The latttest victim on gender testing was Caster Semeny. After a stop of 11 month she could compete again, the IAF stopped testing on chromosomes and started testing on Testosterone.

Until 1960 the girls had to undergo a gynaecological examination, the use of a buccal smear for sex chromatin was placed on the Olympic program in 1968. Most of the women (XY-women) had variants of androgen resistance, either complete or partial -- in which case, they were naturally resistant to the strength-promoting qualities of testosterone. Foekje probably had a very rare Genetic Mosaic of both XX (female) and XY (male) chromosomes, even maybe 47XXY and 46XX.

Foekje Dillema was born a girl in Friesland in 1928 and was raised a girl and lived her life as a woman. She and her family never doubted her gender: female. Dillema started running in 1948. She was named "athlete of the match" in 1949 after winning the 200-meters during a tournament in London. She was an important competitor of another Dutch athlete Fanny Blankers-Koen who won four gold medals during the 1948 Games and was voted "Female Athlete of the Century" by the IAF in 1999.

Fanny Blankers refused to compete against Foekje Dillema and never did in the 200 m. In 1950, Foekje broke Fanny's national record on the 200 m. The IAF introcuced a mandatory sextest for the European championships in Brussels agugust 23 (1950) for all participating athletes. Dillema refused to go to the test and was expelled from competition. The IAF suspected she was an intersex.

In 2008, a controversial posthumous DNA-test on cells found in her clothing indicated that she may have been a Genetic Mosaic. The Y-chromosome was found in approximately 30% of her skin cells. The SRY-gene on the Y is the testis determining factor, so Foekje may have had infertile testes palplable in her groins (instead of ovaries). These testes produce more testosterone than ovaries. Foekje had an operation on 'her glands' in 1952, her brothers and sisters were never informed about what they call a mysterious operation. The operation on Foekje might have been gonadectomy (removal of the testes). In the history of gendertesting many girls were expelled from competition on having a Y-chromosome.

After being expelled Foekje lived a quiet life in a small village in Friesland (the Netherlands). Although several journalists tried to unveil the story behind the test, no one ever spoke on the subject again. In 2008 her biography was published in the Netherlands.

Gender verification causes substantial harm to women athletes born with rare genetic syndromes. The testosterone test that was introduced in 2012 by the IOC is still discrimanating on woman. There is no decisively link between hyperandrogenism and sporting ability. High testosterone levels do not create an unfair advantage. It is about time the Olympic Commity stops this immoral practice.