I wrote about Caster Semenya on my Examiner.com women’s column when the news first broke about her testosterone results being significantly higher than what is found in women (see “Caster Semenya: When a vagina is not enough“). I tried to put myself in her shoes. 18 years old, always raised as a female, but probably told very often that she resembles a man which is a blow in itself to her self esteem. She finds something that she can excel at an international level, breaks a world record, and then now clouded with having to undergo sexual identity testing.
I often wonder had she not broken the world record if people would have been as concerned? I also wonder if they do this testosterone testing all the time on athletes because there’s no doubt in my mind that Caster Semenya is alone. Then of course there’s the issue of race which South African leaders have pointed to from the very beginning claiming that they’re going after her because she doesn’t fit the European standard of beauty.
Now the results have been leaked to the press that while she has a vagina, Caster Semenya does not have ovaries or a uterus and has male sex organs that have not descended. All of this unbeknownst to her and probably would be for most of her life until she perhaps decided that she wanted to have children.
What I struggle with now, is what Caster Semenya should do now? Does that mean she has to compete with the men? Does she leave her God given talent alone from a competitive standpoint? If I had soccer skills like Mia Hamm or Abby Wambach and then found out that I didn’t qualify to play on the US Women’s team because I had too much testosterone and had been told I was a hermaphrodite, I’d be absolutely devastated. Talk about an identity crisis! People speak of hermaphrodite’s with a giggle and judgment. I just hope this sparks a conversation amongst all athletic competition, particularly at the national and international level, and perhaps some compassion for an 18 year old young woman having to deal with a startling revelation.
Here’s a report from NTV Kenya
My latest Examiner.com post on the subject- Caster Semenya: Sexual identity results are in. Now what?
TransGriot- Caster Semenya case opening old wounds
Yahoo! News Canada- SA runner’s family angered by hermaphrodite report