"In the rush and excitement of leaving for the 1988 Olympics, Maria Patiño, Spain’s top woman hurdler, forgot the requisite doctor’s certificate stating, for the benefit of Olympic officials, what seemed patently obvious to anyone who looked at her: she was female. But the International Olympic Committee (IOC) had anticipated the possibility that some competitors would forget their certificates of femininity. Patiño had only to report to the ‘femininity control head office,’ scrape some cells off the side of her cheek, and all would be in order—or so she thought.
"A few hours after the cheek scraping she got a call. Something was wrong. She went for a second examination, but the doctors were mum. Then, as she rode to the Olympic stadium to start her first race, track officials broke the news: she had failed the sex test. She may have looked like a woman, had a woman’s strength, and never had reason to suspect that she wasn’t a woman, but the examinations revealed that Patin˜o’s cells sported a Y chromosome, and that her labia hid testes within. Furthermore, she had neither ovaries nor a uterus. According to the IOC’s definition, Patiño was not a woman. She was barred from competing on Spain’s Olympic team.
"Spanish athletic officials told Patin˜o to fake an injury and withdraw without publicizing the embarrassing facts. When she refused, the European press heard about it and the secret was out. Within months after returning to Spain, Patin˜o’s life fell apart. Spanish officials stripped her of past titles and barred her from further competition. Her boyfriend deserted her. She was evicted from the national athletic residence, her scholarship was revoked, and suddenly she had to struggle to make a living. The national press had a field day at her expense. As she later said, ‘I was erased from the map, as if I had never existed.'"
~ Anne Fausto-Sterling, 2000