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Caster Semenya

There's this story being reported today about South African runner Caster Semenya being a hermaphrodite:

WORLD athletics is in crisis with revelations that world champion South African Caster Semenya is a hermaphrodite.

The International Association of Athletics Federations is poised to disqualify Semenya from future events after gender verification tests revealed evidence that she has no womb or ovaries and carries both male and female sexual organs, according to a report in Sydney's Daily Telegraph.

Sources involved in the IAAF testing, which involved various scans, said Semenya was found to have internal testes and three times the amount of testosterone that a “normal” female would have, the paper said.

The sport's governing body, which has not decided whether or not it will strip Semenya of her 800m world championships gold medal in Berlin, will also advise the runner to seek immediate surgery, believing her condition poses significant health risks.

Semenya, 18, was believed to have gone into hiding last night and it is understood she is unlikely to appear in her first race since winning the gold last month.


I don't often get involved in sport, and in truth, I care even less about runners than I usually do about sports people (being able to move quickly has never struck me as a skill worth lauding above, say, being able to cure something--but it's a long time before we have doctor and scientist Olympics, I admit); but there's just something truly tragic about the whole as it is being reported now. To be eighteen, and to have the world thinking that, to use the euphemism, 'you're a chick with a dick,' well, that must be awful on s many personal levels.

I am actually moved to a sense of sadness.

I'm sure it'll pass.

Link.

(crossposted)

Comments

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artbroken
Sep. 11th, 2009 10:49 am (UTC)
I'm with you. Her whole life and sense of self is a) pretty much fucked, and b) pretty much publicly fucked on a world stage. Heavy shit for any 18-year-old, no matter their genital configuration.
benpeek
Sep. 12th, 2009 12:09 am (UTC)
heavy shit for anyone, i imagine. i duno how i'd be dealing with it if it happened to me right now...
drjon
Sep. 11th, 2009 12:43 pm (UTC)
As I understand it, amongst the intersex community, the term "hermaphrodite" is regarded as offensive (and I can see why, and agree). Intersex is polite, but then I imagine the papers' clamour for sales is far more important than something trivial like that.

Also, by all reports she doesn't have a dick. But I'm guessing you realise that.
benpeek
Sep. 12th, 2009 12:09 am (UTC)
yeah, i do ;)
ironed_orchid
Sep. 12th, 2009 03:06 am (UTC)
Great, they don't even use the term intersex, which is a lot less loaded.
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