so unless you’ve been living under a rock, i’m sure you’re aware of the controversy surrounding south african runner caster semenya and her recent world record breaking sprint in berlin. awarded gold at the time, she was quickly accused of being a man and rushed into gender testing as the worlds media watched with baited breath.
ok, so to start off, i feel terribly bad for poor caster. just eighteen and being accused of being a man. pretty harsh. and it only gets worse. just the other day news leaked that the gender tests show semenya is in fact a hermaphrodite with no womb, and internal testes instead. now, it must be hard enough coming to terms with the discovery that you are intersex without the whole world finding out at the same time as you. this has got to be shattering for the poor girl. i actually rather like caster semenya, even though her name does sort of seem like a mad gab clue for ‘caster’s a man, yeah?’
anyway, this all got me wondering what happens in the sporting world to intersex individuals. despite evidence that sex is not so simply divided into two categories, that is the sporting world is really set up for. i understand that the IAAF are thinking of letting caster keep her medal but no longer compete as a lady but where do you draw the line? could she compete as a man?
to my thinking the only fair way to make the divide, while keeping the simplicity of the current system, would be to have anyone showing more than a certain percentage male physical qualities having to compete as a man. not to sound sexist, but surely the only reason for the women’s categories in sporting is because they aren’t good enough to compete with the men in the first place so if they are protectionist in nature then this would have to be continued. you can’t tell someone flat out that they can’t compete but you could make a hard line over which someone must compete in the men’s grouping.
is that fair? is it actually incredibly patronising to women? i really can’t think of another way to dice this conundrum, honestly. tough questions for the 21st century post-modern society. nothing is simply black or white anymore, everything has a grey area now and i love it. if nothing else it provides me with more blog fodder, blodder if you will.
MAKE LOVE NOT GENDER TESTS!