Katrina Karkazis is a cultural anthropologist specializing in gender and bioethics and the author of Fixing Sex: Intersex, Medical Authority, and Lived Experience (2008). Her research on the “sex testing” of athletes has appeared in Science, The American Journal of Bioethics, and the BMJ, and led to her appearance as an expert witness in the hearing at the Court of Arbitration for Sport on Dutee Chand’s successful appeal of the IAAF’s hyperandrogenism regulation. She is currently working, with co-author Rebecca Jordan-Young, on a forthcoming book, T: The Unauthorized Biography. (June 2018)

Follow Katrina Karkazis on Twitter: @Karkazis.

NYR DAILY

The Masculine Mystique of T

Bodybuilders in Hull, England, 2017

In the more than eight decades since the hormone’s isolation, testosterone’s appeal has expanded for reasons that go far beyond its supposed powers of rejuvenation. Bodies are sculpted, and psyches are, too. T’s diverse aspirational powers are such that taking it is, at some level, an imaginative act. The experience must be powerful, heady, thrilling, all-consuming. The idea of feeling more “masculine” may be more powerful, in fact, than the hormone itself.