Monday, December 18, 2006

Things That Go Huh? in the Night

Two D.C.-area Episcopal churches seceded yesterday, establishing themselves as a jerry-rigged Virginia branch of the African Anglican Communion under the leadership of Archbishop Peter Akinola. Akinola is Nigerian, and supports that country's laws prerventing gays from meeting in public and sentencing them to jail time for their private encounters. The churches' votes were a reaction to Episcopalians' growing acceptance of homosexuality, which culminated in the 2003 election of an openly gay man, Gene Robinson, as bishop--a move which was obviously more extreme than joining a ravingly homophobic church from another continent.

Santhi Soundarajan, 25, took the silver medal for India in the women's 800-meter track event at the Asian Games last week. Afterwards, she submitted to a voluntary gender test. What exactly a gender test is remains a mystery, but Sports Illustrated reports that "a gynecologist, endocrinologist, psychologist and internal medicine specialist" conducted it. An Indian official indicated that Sounderajan appeared to have (quoting SI) "more Y chromosomes than allowed."

Where to start on that one…than allowed? By whom? It's not clear what the Asian Games' standards on gender are. And it seems that the chromosomal abnormalities that more or less resemble the official's descriptions do not have any bearing on how fast someone might run. (Research, thanks to Wikipedia, here and here.)

However, South Asian Media Net quotes former International Olympic Committee member Ashwini Kumar saying that “the prize money is so high that athletes take to shortcuts to win." So perhaps there is some chromosomal abnormality which is both a cinch to bring on and makes you incredibly fast.

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