Track Star Caster Semenya Controversy

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mergirl

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It's a sensitive issue and I feel for those involved.

But to be totally fair to the other runners, Semenya's male levels of testorone does really give her an unfair advantage. But it's also very unlikely there was any intended dishonestly on her part so it's probably not really fair to take her medal away but at the same time, its still not really fair to the other runners. It's a tough call.

The thing is though, different women have different levels of testosterone in their bodies than each other anyway and at different times of the month and at various points in their lives. To make it truly equal it would have to be ensured that all people competing had the same amount of hormones in their bodies as each other, which would be impossible. In saying that, if someone has an inordinate amount of testosterone, this would need to be taken into consideration. It really then begs the question "What makes someone a woman?"
 

Cors

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It is appalling that this has become so public.

The officials had plenty of time to scrutinise her gender and run the tests to determine if she is allowed to compete as a woman. It is not like they were unaware of her extraordinary performance, and it is pretty obvious that accusations, be it gender ambiguity or doping will come flooding in like they did.
 

LillyBBBW

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It is appalling that this has become so public.

The officials had plenty of time to scrutinise her gender and run the tests to determine if she is allowed to compete as a woman. It is not like they were unaware of her extraordinary performance, and it is pretty obvious that accusations, be it gender ambiguity or doping will come flooding in like they did.

Castor has already been tested several times. She was tested twice in 2006. This is mob rule public humiliation, plain and simple.
 

mergirl

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Castor has already been tested several times. She was tested twice in 2006. This is mob rule public humiliation, plain and simple.

Oh, i didn't realise she had already been tested. What on earth is the point of all this shit then?? How pathetic! :mad:
 

Cors

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I didn't realise either. It doesn't make sense! Grrrrr. I wonder how this will go down and what kind of precedent this will set for intersex people.

I have a few intersex friends, but they look so gendered that you can't actually tell. I wonder if Castor would have escaped this scrutiny if she had looked less masculine, despite having an edge over her XX competitors.
 

LillyBBBW

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Her father adamantly insists that this is not an old story -- that Castor has been tested several times, including two times in 2006. She has been teased, tested and challenged since she was a little girl. This just makes me sick to my stomach. Butch girls have been running and competing in sports since the dawn of mankind for goodness' sake. :mad: One bright light in all of this is how her countrymen have come out into the streets and rallied 'round to support her as is and call bulshit on this public flogging. It wasn't unfair when they let the other intersex competetors compete. In reality the kind of win she had is not something that has never happened before. It has happened in Men's running many times as well.
 

Tooz

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It makes me so sad that people are still so threatened by people outside the prescribed notions of gender, and it seems, especially women.
 

Jack Skellington

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The thing is though, different women have different levels of testosterone in their bodies than each other anyway and at different times of the month and at various points in their lives.

But the point is though that Semenya has male levels of testosterone which truly does give her an unfair advantage. According to the reports Semenya has testicles and no ovaries, so even if her gender identity is female, she still physically performs at a male level.
 

Teleute

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Okay, there may be official reports by now that I haven't seen, but seriously: the article linked by Mossy DOES NOT have an official statement that Caster has testicles and no ovaries. News organizations have a nasty habit of using questions or bold statements in headlines that are entirely contradicted in the text below, because people only remember the question. In the Lady Gaga thread a while back, someone linked an article that basically said "no seriously, she's a woman" as proof that she was secretly a man. :rolleyes:

Significantly higher amounts of testosterone WOULD give her a major advantage - this is why it's used for doping. Fluctuations within a woman's menstrual cycle or within the normal female range aren't that much of a change. However, since she's been tested before, this is all really ridiculous, and a clear attempt to shame her publically and stir up a great media story - gender ambiguity makes many people incredibly uncomfortable, so they flock to a story like this. Sucks for Caster - I'm impressed that she's standing up so well to all the scrutiny.
 

HottiMegan

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I really hope she gets difinitive results one way or another. I feel for her. She's just a kid and the world is looking at her like she's wrong.
 

Jack Skellington

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From Yahoo news via reuters.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20090911/sp_nm/us_safrica_semenya_3

"South African President Jacob Zuma decried the invasion of Semenya's privacy and what he called the violation of her rights, although neither he nor Stofile denied the report."

I wonder if this means they all knew?

"The Telegraph report said tests had found Semenya had no womb or ovaries, but that she had internal testes, the male sexual organs which produce testosterone, and her levels of the hormone were three times that of a 'normal' female."

With testosterone levels that high, Semenya without a doubt would have an unfair advantage competing.
 

katorade

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From Yahoo news via reuters.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20090911/sp_nm/us_safrica_semenya_3

"South African President Jacob Zuma decried the invasion of Semenya's privacy and what he called the violation of her rights, although neither he nor Stofile denied the report."

I wonder if this means they all knew?

"The Telegraph report said tests had found Semenya had no womb or ovaries, but that she had internal testes, the male sexual organs which produce testosterone, and her levels of the hormone were three times that of a 'normal' female."

With testosterone levels that high, Semenya without a doubt would have an unfair advantage competing.

Yeah, but problem is she didn't cheat and was naturally born that way. I'm not sure there are rules about hermaphroditic properties.
 

LillyBBBW

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From Yahoo news via reuters.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20090911/sp_nm/us_safrica_semenya_3

"South African President Jacob Zuma decried the invasion of Semenya's privacy and what he called the violation of her rights, although neither he nor Stofile denied the report."

I wonder if this means they all knew?

"The Telegraph report said tests had found Semenya had no womb or ovaries, but that she had internal testes, the male sexual organs which produce testosterone, and her levels of the hormone were three times that of a 'normal' female."

With testosterone levels that high, Semenya without a doubt would have an unfair advantage competing.

Or the reason they didn't deny the report could be they don't know, having not seen it. They have however maintained all along that Caster is female and has been from birth with a certificate to prove it. It seems unlikely to me that any gynocologist even in the most remote third world outpost can administer a physical exam on a sixteen year old and not notice the absence of a womb. I'm also skeptical of the theory that the whole South African government has deliberately perpetrated a scam. It seems to me they are anxious for the results of the tests just like everyone else is and would rather wait than feed this media monster.
 

LillyBBBW

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Okay, there may be official reports by now that I haven't seen, but seriously: the article linked by Mossy DOES NOT have an official statement that Caster has testicles and no ovaries. News organizations have a nasty habit of using questions or bold statements in headlines that are entirely contradicted in the text below, because people only remember the question. In the Lady Gaga thread a while back, someone linked an article that basically said "no seriously, she's a woman" as proof that she was secretly a man. :rolleyes:

Significantly higher amounts of testosterone WOULD give her a major advantage - this is why it's used for doping. Fluctuations within a woman's menstrual cycle or within the normal female range aren't that much of a change. However, since she's been tested before, this is all really ridiculous, and a clear attempt to shame her publically and stir up a great media story - gender ambiguity makes many people incredibly uncomfortable, so they flock to a story like this. Sucks for Caster - I'm impressed that she's standing up so well to all the scrutiny.

The more I think on it I'm inclined to believe that the heinous crime Semenya is guilty of is brazen cold cocked cockiness. She's muscular, mannish looking, was suspect and has already garnered a reputation for being a force on the track. The moment she set foot in Berlin she was shunned and mistreated by everyone according to all accounts. The mistreatment coupled with her heightened levels of testosterone more than likely created a ripe atmosphere for scowling, chest beating and showiness designed to humble and humiliate all detractors as much as she's capable as an act of defiance and resolve. The photos of her pose once the race was won were telling. To be honest with you if I were a runner in this race who suspected there was some trickery going on I would be miffed and want to cut her down to size too. For her victory lap not a sound could be heard. No one applauded or cheered at all. Her parents mentioned in an interview that they raised her to be the type to not let what people say destroy her which I would imagine is a good tool in helping her stand in the face of all of this. Although... she was slated for another race this weekend and dropped out citing "illness" according to reports. Tolls get taken no matter how strong we are I'm afraid.
 

mergirl

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I wonder if this level of negitive scrutiny would have occurred had she been white and from the UK or America....or maby i'm just paranoid.
 

LillyBBBW

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I wonder if this level of negitive scrutiny would have occurred had she been white and from the UK or America....or maby i'm just paranoid.

You and a lot of other people. Honestly her features are not uncommon among black people at all. Full features have been the subject of course joking and parody dating back years. The attention to her features comes off as being highly ignorant and inflammatory prompting South Africa's president to proclaim, "Semenya is NOT European." It's hard to not take offense to all of this. I have a deep voice too and in some ways I'm still considered less feminine looking due to my features. I could go ON about that though so let me stop here. :mad:
 

Jack Skellington

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I wonder if this level of negitive scrutiny would have occurred had she been white and from the UK or America....or maby i'm just paranoid.

Erika Schinegger was a champion Austrian skier with the same condition. Gender testing for the 1968 Olympics revealed she, like Semenya, was intersexed and had internal male sexual organs. Erika then had surgery to become Erik and later fathered two children. Erik also voluntarily gave Erika's 1966 gold medal to the runner up who he was quoted as calling the "true winner."
 

Jack Skellington

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I forgot to add, there is a history in the Olympics and sports of controversy over the gender of female athletes. Some turned out to be intersexed like Erika Schinegger and like Conrad mentioned others were from the concerns of Germany and Russia doping their female athetes.

Heidi Krieger was German shot putter in the 80s who was, unbeknowed to her, being doped by her coaches with incredibly high levels of anabolic steroids under the guise of vitamin pills. The doses were so high it effectively caused her to go through a drug induced sex change. Heidi was so physically changed she felt she had no choice but to finish the sex change and become male.

A couple of quotes from Heidi now Andreas:

"For me the tragedy is still that I had no choice in determining my sexual identity, the drugs decided my fate,"

"The thing is, they killed Heidi."

Gender testing in sports is probably a necessary evil. It keeps women from having to competed against those that are physically at a male level and hopefully prevent another tragedy like Heidi.
 

Melian

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I forgot to add, there is a history in the Olympics and sports of controversy over the gender of female athletes. Some turned out to be intersexed like Erika Schinegger and like Conrad mentioned others were from the concerns of Germany and Russia doping their female athetes.

Heidi Krieger was German shot putter in the 80s who was, unbeknowed to her, being doped by her coaches with incredibly high levels of anabolic steroids under the guise of vitamin pills. The doses were so high it effectively caused her to go through a drug induced sex change. Heidi was so physically changed she felt she had no choice but to finish the sex change and become male.

A couple of quotes from Heidi now Andreas:

"For me the tragedy is still that I had no choice in determining my sexual identity, the drugs decided my fate,"

"The thing is, they killed Heidi."

Gender testing in sports is probably a necessary evil. It keeps women from having to competed against those that are physically at a male level and hopefully prevent another tragedy like Heidi.

Hm....I had no idea that the issue of intersex athletes had come up that much in the past. You'd think that, after the first time, the Olympic committee would create some kind of regulation/classification to make things easier for everyone - some biological delineation of "male" and "female" competitors, and guidelines for dealing with individuals who cannot be placed in either category. Might prevent some embarassment and outrage....
 

mergirl

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Erika Schinegger was a champion Austrian skier with the same condition. Gender testing for the 1968 Olympics revealed she, like Semenya, was intersexed and had internal male sexual organs. Erika then had surgery to become Erik and later fathered two children. Erik also voluntarily gave Erika's 1966 gold medal to the runner up who he was quoted as calling the "true winner."
See, i didn't realise that conclusive results had been provided yet for Caster. The news 10 hours ago said that they were still awaiting results and that the source that claimed she was a hermaphrodite was wrong. I'm with Melian, you would think if something like this happened 40 years ago, better testing which would cause least humiliation should really be in place.
Anyway, i don't think they have 'proved' she is a hermaphrodite yet... so this scrutiny is very strange and i believe is causing a fair amount of outrage in Africa. Oh, also, Caster herself is recieving psychiatric help at the moment. Poor show all round.
 

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