Gender definition by Susan Grimsdell

There could hardly be a more modern problem than the one facing Caster Semenya, the South African 800m Olympic champion. She is defined as an athlete with “Differences of Sex Development”. Her testosterone levels are apparently higher than the Olympic Committee accepts for a person to be categorised as female. If Caster wants to go on competing in the women’s races, she will have to take oral contraceptives to bring those pesky levels down. Gender dilemma Sports scientists estimate that if she does take the pill, it will cost her about 7… Read More

O holy night by Trevor Plumbly

The dream Wrong time of the year I know, but at my age I’ll take memories whenever I can get them. Contrary to the portrayal of joy and goodwill, our school class production of the nativity play provoked a long standing feud more suited to Shakespeare than the New Testament. Miss Folster was largely to blame; she was Casting, Script, and Musician. Emotionally ice-bound from the toes up and, as required of lady teachers of the time, totally devoid of any feminine properties that might have distracted a young mind. She had… Read More

Puberty by Angela Caldin

Here you go Trevor, here are my musings on the topic of puberty. I don’t like the word puberty; I mean that I don’t like the sound of it – it’s the p and the u and the b together that are off-putting. The word arrives in the fourteenth century from Old French puberté, from Latin pubertatem meaning age of maturity and pubes meaning adult, full grown. It’s the period of human development during which physical growth, sexual maturation and the achievement of fertility occur. Adolescence seems to me to be a… Read More

Fast forward – from puberty to menopause by Emily Smart

The irony of talking about puberty at the ripe old age of 48 has not been lost on me. Thank you Trevor for reminding me that within the next few years, everything that started at puberty will soon be all over. As I wave goodbye to the once fresh eggs produced by my ovaries, I’ll be saying hello to facial hair, varicose veins and possibly too much spittle around my mouth. Looking back, puberty wasn’t a big thing for me. A late developer, I was still happy in my vest at fifteen… Read More

Puberty revisited by Trevor Plumbly and Susan Grimsdell

Once again, Trevor has taken it into his head that we should have a joint blog, each of us writing our own take on a common subject. This time he has chosen the topic of puberty. Devoted readers will be aware that Trevor often returns to this topic and we can only guess at why this stage in his development looms so large. First flickers by Trevor These days it’s an easy trip: you can blame anything short of climate change on puberty and get away with a sympathetic nod. In my… Read More