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A Question Of Gender

A Question Of Gender

The world of women’s running has seen a lot of drama these past few weeks as sports officials and the media question the gender of runner Caster Semenya.  The controversy began after South African runner, Semenya won an 800-meter race at the World Athletics Championships in just 55.45 seconds (the best women’s time made this year). 

Reports are now leaking that before the 800-meter race Semenya and a top track official received results from a medical test showing that her testosterone levels were very high.  The Athletics South Africa (ASA) track official, Leonard Chuene, previously denied putting Semenya through any gender tests before the race, but has now retracted the statement and apologized for the lie after newspapers revealed an email correspondance Chuene had with the sports doctor. 

Semenya is now going through further gender tests before officials decide if they should strip her of her medals and her right to run as a woman. The official final results have not yet been revealed, but an article from the AFP quotes Chuene responding to questions about the pending gender tests.  Chuene says, "No one has seen the reports.  We have learnt in the media that she is a hermaphrodite."  Australian newspapers have been reporting that Semenya is a hermaphrodite with internal testes. 

The way that 18-year-old Semenya has been treated in recent weeks has sparked controversy within many human rights organizationsCNN reports about South Africa’s minister for women, children, and people with disabilities,Noluthando Mayende-Sibiya’s, reaction to Semenya’s situation.  Sibiya sent a letter to the U.N. Division for the Advancement of Women asking that they investigate Semenya’s treatment.  Sibiya wrote, "The questioning of her gender is based on a stereotypic view of the physical features and abilities attributable to women.  Such stereotypes demonstrates the extent of patriarchy within the world’s sporting community." 

What do you think of the gender tests sports officials are currently putting Semenya through?

If official results find Semenya to possess both male and female anatomy, what type of ruling do you think judges should make?

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  • Nubians By Nubians
    10.05.09  

    This should be a joyous time for they young lady. Instead she is made to feel iike she's an outcast. How horrible it is to try to strip her of her dignity! ...Ladies, imagine someone telling you, you are not a woman, then go so far as to test you to tell you who and what you are!!! How outragious!!! ... Sore losers....

  • Bling182 By Bling182
    10.13.09  

    Ladies of SheSpeaks...the very fact that events are separated by gender degrades women...I'm sure any of the woman in this competition can outrun my husband so let the fastest person win! sounds like sore losers are looking for an excuse. Drugs enhancing performance are one thing but this sounds like genetics to me!

  • JustOla By JustOla
    10.15.09  

    Assuming any testes are internal, I say let her run. There are many factors that make us who we are - athletic, artistic, musical, and so forth. It's likely that other female athletes in history may have had some male chemistry or biology. We accepted them as just really strong, capable women, because that's what they were. If this young woman turns out to be a hermaphrodite, and is kicked out because of it, then what testing should all athletes go through? Where do we draw the line???

  • Alyssarae92293 By Alyssarae92293
    10.15.09  

    This is so RIDICULOUS!!!! Who cares about testosterone levels!!! Shes still a woman!!!!

  • AimeeAken By AimeeAken
    11.19.09  

    People are people.. I think they should just let everyone run together equal and be done with it.

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