Runner Caster Semenya Reportedly a Hermaphrodite

| by Jill Stanek

I've been watching this story with interest, because feminists immediately took up the cause of 18-year-old South African Caster Semenya last month when the International Association of Athletics Federations ordered gender tests after s/he won a gold medal in the 800 meter run at the World Athletics Championships....

I thought the question was fair, not sexist. Not so, according to RH Reality Check:

Testing... Semenya to determine whether or not she is female is the latest demonstration of the way societies are unable to accept that gender is fluid and people are not always "one or the other."

This isn't about the stretching of societal norms; this is about gender-based athletic competitions.

Semanya went so far as to undergo a makeover for the September 10 issue of You magazine.

Now today comes a story I certainly didn't expect. I thought Senenya would found to be simply a masculine-looking female, or a man, or to have taken male steroids or something.

But it's none of the above. From the Sun (and obtained via Drudge):

The controversy over gender row champion runner Caster Semenya deepened today - after reports claimed sex swap tests have shown she is a HERMAPHRODITE.

South African gold-medallist Semenya, 18, has both male and female organs, it was claimed.

And sources close to the International Association of Athletics Federations... say the results mean she could still be stripped of her medal.

Semenya is claimed to have NO womb or ovaries - and has internal testes, the male sexual organs which produce testosterone.

The row over Semenya's biology has caused huge divisions - with South African politicians calling slurs she is a man "racist and sexist." Her birth certificate has the teen listed as female and urine tests showed that, despite her having higher than average male hormone levels, they are within the official limits for a woman.

But an IAAF source was today quoted as saying: "There certainly is
evidence now that Semenya is a hermaphrodite....

"The problem for us is to avoid it being an issue now which is very personal: of the organs being a hermaphrodite, of not being a 'real' woman.

"It's very dramatic."...

And Semenya's family have slammed the claims, saying: "It is God who made her look that way but she IS a girl."...

The athlete's uncle Lesiba Rammabi, 51, said her relatives were "very humiliated" by the reports.

He said: "I believe Caster is normal, inside and out.

"What does it matter whether she can have babies or not? Many people cannot have children, why else do parents adopt? Are those women not women also?

"We are a normal family who looked at a child when she was born, saw that she was a girl and raised her as any other family would do. Are we now being told that we are wrong?

"We are very humiliated by what has been said and do not understand how it can be true.

"This is a woman who was raised a female. She will always be female, no matter what people say."

This is sad. I feel sorry for Semenya, but what's a sports organization to do? This isn't about sexism or racism. As for Semenya personally, though, if she truly loves to run, how can she ever compete?