Saturday, September 12, 2009

Open Forum: The Fallout from Caster Semenya

South African track & field star Caster Semenya who won the 800m gold medal in Berlin last month has been the subject of much controversy with people questioning her sex and gender due to her gender expression and speed results. After being forced to undergo a series of tests to determine her actual sex, it has been revealed that she is intersex and has internal testes which are responsible for the output of testosterone.

It is tragic that Semenya was forced into the public spotlight in terms of scrutiny over her identity and had to undergo sex assessment. What is the fallout from this, now that we know that she is intersex, does this help the movement by creating awareness or just further create a sense of hostility towards this minority? The media has already used offensive and biologically impossible terms such as "hermaphrodite" instead of the appropriate term intersex to describe Semenya. How does this news coverage boad for the intersex and gender variant communities?

Photo courtesy of Erik van Leeuwen on Wikimedia Commons.

5 comments:

Diane J Standiford said...

CNN is reporting, "...intersex..." this morning. The reporter showed no knowledge of what it means. I hope this will become of learning opportunity for we mere mortals. Bad news: They said she is contemplating suicide and has "disappeared," perhaps never to run again, in front of crowds. How sad that would be. Can we NEVR evolve as humans? Must we stay so damn dumb?

CrackerLilo said...

I feel really horrible for her, and hope someone is looking out for her. I hope she gets to run again, or do something else that gives her joy. It's appalling that she is now internationally known for the state of her genitalia and not her athletic ability! Perhaps Seminya can overcome the depression, find a way to compete again, and become a hero and advocate for other intersexed people. Perhaps the rest of us will learn from this. But a teenager who just wants to do something she's excellent at and isn't hurting anyone shouldn't have to become a "learning experience."

Anonymous said...

The way this whole situation is being handled just reminds me of one thing, humans NEVER fail to disappoint. When will we evolve past our stupidy and just learn to accept everyone, and not try to destroy someone elses dream, or life for that matter.

Michael said...

I'm sure the gay games would welcome her.

many individual competitions are about the end results and this ultimately segregates.
But really, isn't it about doing the race, and not about winning or loosing.

libhom said...

I think this will at least increase awareness that intersex people are there. Given all the chemicals in our environment, future generations will have higher percentages of intersex people. We need to get over the stigma.

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