Caster Semenya's 'gender' confirmed

  • Timbales

    Posts: 13993

    Sep 10, 2009 3:31 PM GMT
    http://www.news.com.au/story/0,27574,26056981-401,00.htmlWORLD athletics is in crisis with tests showing champion runner Caster Semenya is a hermaphrodite - a person with both female and male sexual characteristics.

    The tests, not yet publicly released, show the 18-year-old has no womb or ovaries.

    The International Association of Athletics Federations is expected to disqualify the South African from future events and advise her to have surgery because her condition carries grave health risks, The Daily Telegraph reports.

    And she could be stripped of the gold medal she won in Berlin in last month.

    Semenya has three times more testosterone than a normal female.

    A source closely involved with the IAAF tests said Semenya had internal testes - the male sexual organs which produce testosterone.

    Testosterone is a male hormone with a primary task of building muscle bulk. It also produces body hair and a deep voice.

    It is believed Semenya is unaware the tests identify her as an hermaphrodite.

    Only the certainty of a savage backlash from South Africa has so far prevented the IAAF from banning Semenya and revoking her gold medal.

    South Africa embraced the feisty teenager after the storm of controversy from Berlin, declaring her "Our girl".

    African National Congress MP and National Assembly sports committee chairman Butana Komphela has already lodged a complaint with the United Nations High Commission on Human Rights, accusing the IAAF of racism and sexism.

    Speaking on condition of anonymity, a source explained the political and personal sensitivities involved.

    "There certainly is evidence Semenya is a hermaphrodite. But the trouble is the IAAF now have the whole ANC and the whole of South Africa on their backs. Everything is going to have to be done absolutely by the book, no question of a challenge to the findings.

    "There's all sorts of scans you do. This is why it's complicated. In the past you used to do a gynaecological exam, blood test, chromosome test, whatever. That's why they (the findings) were challenged, because it's not quite so simple.

    "So what they do now is they do everything, and then they can say, look - not only has she got this, she's got that and the other.

    "The problem for us is to avoid it being an issue now which is very personal - of the organs being a hermaphrodite, of not being a 'real' woman. It's very dramatic."

    The IAAF expects to receive the full set of results this week.

    When quizzed last week by magazine You, Semenya said: "I see it all as a joke, it doesn't upset me. God made me the way I am and I accept myself. I am who I am and I'm proud of myself. I don't want to talk about the tests. I'm not even thinking about them."

    While the IAAF is treating the Semenya case as a health matter, the same South African politicians who denied AIDS was a problem in their country are standing behind their queen of the athletics.

    "Of course Caster is a totally innocent victim in this whole affair," the source explained.

    "What could she do about it? And the IAAF accepted her entry. So the two parties at fault are the IAAF and especially Athletics SA."


    I feel bad for her.
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    Sep 11, 2009 1:02 AM GMT
    I feel so bad for her. She had her business publicly put out there. So not fair. They didnt need to post that she was a hermaphrodite. They could have said something else. She lives her life as a woman, I think she should be able to race as one. Its not her fault she was born with both organs.
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    Sep 11, 2009 1:08 AM GMT
    I think this is an important situation as it applies to gender/sexuality/biology/moralism/individuality. Maybe I should have used commas. This individual should inspire well thought consideration of all those topics and more. Further, it should drive the religious to suicide.
  • DCEric

    Posts: 3713

    Sep 11, 2009 1:10 AM GMT
    There are six different genders among humans.* Only two are truly recognized. Something must be done so that the other four genders can compete in sports and other areas of life where the current mindset is that everyone is either male, or female. More importantly, we need to do this without humiliating individuals or stigmatizing whole groups of people.

    *MSUBioNerd, can you confirm this?
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    Sep 11, 2009 1:12 AM GMT
    McGay saidI think this is an important situation as it applies to gender/sexuality/biology/moralism/individuality. Maybe I should have used commas. This individual should inspire well thought consideration of all those topics and more. Further, it should drive the religious to suicide.


    Hahaha to the above

    and...

    The one thing that bothers me is that at the time of an article that I read she did not know yet that she had internal male genitalia! You would think that they would have the courtesy to notify the person before they find out in the paper.
  • Aquanerd

    Posts: 845

    Sep 11, 2009 1:15 AM GMT
    gymguy1 saidI feel so bad for her. She had her business publicly put out there. So not fair. They didnt need to post that she was a hermaphrodite. They could have said something else. She lives her life as a woman, I think she should be able to race as one. Its not her fault she was born with both organs.


    Really?!?
    First off, life is not fair.

    Second, the is a penis and testicles that produce testosterone. The same hormone that has been getting females disqualified from athletic competition for over 40 years.Her parents knew about the penis even if the internal testicles were missed.

    Being a hermaphrodite has to be an agonizing issue to live with. Its not her fault she was born with both organs, but it was Semenya's decision to go on a "World Stage" as a female. The is only one person with the responsibility for the situation.

    I'd hate to be the person that has to make the correct decision on the World Championship status. But if I was, it would be revoked.
    edit: original story I ready on the sex results stated "penis and testicles." Since posting I have not seen any mention of the penis."

    Fact remains, fair or unfair, if she is determined to be a biological male or hermaphrodite, she is not 100% female, so would have an extremely large advantage over 100% females. Her only recourse is to compete with men.
    If in fact her parents had not idea that she might anything but female, it is a tragic development that you wouldn't want to curse anyone with. But the results can not stand.
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    Sep 11, 2009 1:20 AM GMT
    Very little wiggle room in professional sporting competitions. Rule books are telephone-book thick and can get as specific as to what shoelaces you wear.
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    Sep 11, 2009 1:23 AM GMT
    hahaha to the above? Give me the punchline.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Sep 11, 2009 1:28 AM GMT
    so then the ichthyologist says to Jesus: YOU go fish!
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Sep 11, 2009 1:32 AM GMT
    Brandt_10.jpg

    Although I think publishing any results before telling the competitor is incredibly low even for the number hungry money driven sensationalistic media
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    Sep 11, 2009 1:57 AM GMT
    Aquanerd said
    gymguy1 said
    Really?!?
    First off, life is not fair.

    Second, the is a penis and testicles that produce testosterone. The same hormone that has been getting females disqualified from athletic competition for over 40 years.Her parents knew about the penis even if the internal testicles were missed.

    Being a hermaphrodite has to be an agonizing issue to live with. Its not her fault she was born with both organs, but it was Semenya's decision to go on a "World Stage" as a female. The is only one person with the responsibility for the situation.

    I'd hate to be the person that has to make the correct decision on the World Championship status. But if I was, it would be revoked.


    So whats her alternative? She is woman on the outside and has male organs on the inside. She was running and practicing to the best of her ability, not knowing she had male testosterone. She didnt ask for any of this. She just wanted to run for her country.
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    Sep 11, 2009 1:58 AM GMT
    gymguy1 saidI feel so bad for her. She had her business publicly put out there. So not fair. They didnt need to post that she was a hermaphrodite. They could have said something else. She lives her life as a woman, I think she should be able to race as one. Its not her fault she was born with both organs.


    No, it's not as simple as that.

    She has a decided unfair advantage over competitors who are "100% women." She should not be allowed to compete with them.

    I do regret that her situ was not better dealt with by the athletic association in her country though.
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    Sep 11, 2009 2:01 AM GMT
    lilTanker saidBrandt_10.jpg

    Although I think publishing any results before telling the competitor is incredibly low even for the number hungry money driven sensationalistic media


    I think you're thinking of this episode buddyicon_wink.gif

    Futurama_ep67.jpg
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Sep 11, 2009 2:01 AM GMT
    Millions of people can't compete in athletics... if this had done privately, as it usually is... we wouldn't be having this conversation... A gross overstep of the boundaries of personal medical records.
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    Sep 11, 2009 2:03 AM GMT


    She should keep her medal as she has done nothing but be as honest as she knew to be!
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Sep 11, 2009 2:10 AM GMT
    Hillie said

    She should keep her medal as she has done nothing but be as honest as she knew to be!


    Well the IAAF did say that she/he would be allowed to keep the medal, but not be allowed to compete with women anymore.
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    Sep 11, 2009 2:15 AM GMT
    The thing I find sorta interesting - aussie journalists seems to be constantly cheerleading this story.

    can't figure out why for the life of me though.
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    Sep 11, 2009 2:45 AM GMT
    Hillie said

    She should keep her medal as she has done nothing but be as honest as she knew to be!


    I agree. Since she didn't know, she shouldn't be faulted. Why all the commotion now, since she's won? Why wasn't this questioned when she initially entered into the race?
  • MSUBioNerd

    Posts: 1813

    Sep 11, 2009 2:49 AM GMT
    I assume DCEric refers to male, female, transmale, transfemale, intersex, and hermaphrodite, given his claim of 6 genders and only 2 being able to compete. That leaves off some additional interesting cases, though: Klinefelter's Syndrome (XXY), Turner's Syndrome (XO), XYY, and XXX individuals; though the last two are generally only distinguishable from XY male and XX female by way of a karyotype -- hormone levels and physical characteristics are in normal ranges, though XYY males on average are slightly taller (3 inches or so) than XY males.

    Athletics, though, aren't truly differentiated on gender. They're differentiated on sex. And, in general, that differentiation is done in the interests of women; while individual women can be stronger or faster or whatnot than individual men, the muscle mass and bone structure men have make it so that at the elite levels, the fastest and strongest men will always be faster and stronger than any woman in existence. Dara Torres came 0.01 seconds away from winning the gold medal in the 50m freestyle in Beijing because she was competing against other women. She wouldn't have even made it to the semifinals if she was competing against men. Testosterone is a big deal.

    I agree that, assuming this report is correct and she's biologically a hermaphrodite, it's not terribly fair to Semenya to tell her that she can't compete against other women, when her self-identification is clearly female. But it also isn't fair to the other women to have to compete against someone with that much higher testosterone than any XX female or XY female with androgen insensitivity syndrome has. What else could be done to make it fair for them as well?
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    Sep 11, 2009 3:01 AM GMT
    MSUBioNerd saidI assume DCEric refers to male, female, transmale, transfemale, intersex, and hermaphrodite, given his claim of 6 genders and only 2 being able to compete. That leaves off some additional interesting cases, though: Klinefelter's Syndrome (XXY), Turner's Syndrome (XO), XYY, and XXX individuals; though the last two are generally only distinguishable from XY male and XX female by way of a karyotype -- hormone levels and physical characteristics are in normal ranges, though XYY males on average are slightly taller (3 inches or so) than XY males.

    Athletics, though, aren't truly differentiated on gender. They're differentiated on sex. And, in general, that differentiation is done in the interests of women; while individual women can be stronger or faster or whatnot than individual men, the muscle mass and bone structure men have make it so that at the elite levels, the fastest and strongest men will always be faster and stronger than any woman in existence. Dara Torres came 0.01 seconds away from winning the gold medal in the 50m freestyle in Beijing because she was competing against other women. She wouldn't have even made it to the semifinals if she was competing against men. Testosterone is a big deal.

    I agree that, assuming this report is correct and she's biologically a hermaphrodite, it's not terribly fair to Semenya to tell her that she can't compete against other women, when her self-identification is clearly female. But it also isn't fair to the other women to have to compete against someone with that much higher testosterone than any XX female or XY female with androgen insensitivity syndrome has. What else could be done to make it fair for them as well?


    You would have to drain caster of her over abundance of testostorone, which has given him/her an unfair advantage (is this even possible?).

    given the wom
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    Sep 11, 2009 3:08 AM GMT
    Calvin said
    lilTanker saidBrandt_10.jpg

    Although I think publishing any results before telling the competitor is incredibly low even for the number hungry money driven sensationalistic media


    I think you're thinking of this episode buddyicon_wink.gif

    Futurama_ep67.jpg

    AH indeed, totally my bad!!

    icon_biggrin.gif
  • latenighter

    Posts: 64

    Sep 11, 2009 3:39 AM GMT
    Prior to the competition, the organizational authorities should do proper chromosome and hormonal test to determine which category to place the atheletes, to avoid these kinda embarrasment.
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    Sep 11, 2009 4:08 AM GMT
    this is soo sad. i knew it would come to this as her appearance was haard to deny. But she is 18 years old and i think they should have put that in consideration. They have truly ruined this individuals life.
  • Timbales

    Posts: 13993

    Sep 11, 2009 12:38 PM GMT
    Aquanerd said
    gymguy1 saidI feel so bad for her. She had her business publicly put out there. So not fair. They didnt need to post that she was a hermaphrodite. They could have said something else. She lives her life as a woman, I think she should be able to race as one. Its not her fault she was born with both organs.


    Really?!?
    First off, life is not fair.

    Second, the is a penis and testicles that produce testosterone. The same hormone that has been getting females disqualified from athletic competition for over 40 years.Her parents knew about the penis even if the internal testicles were missed.

    Being a hermaphrodite has to be an agonizing issue to live with. Its not her fault she was born with both organs, but it was Semenya's decision to go on a "World Stage" as a female. The is only one person with the responsibility for the situation.

    I'd hate to be the person that has to make the correct decision on the World Championship status. But if I was, it would be revoked.


    I'm sorry, were did you read she has a penis? You know for sure her genitals don't outwardly appear to be fully female?
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    Sep 11, 2009 1:04 PM GMT
    First of the article is bogus! The results will not been published until Nov, 2009. So until it official all of what you are hearing is GOSSIP! The sad thing is that young women life has been changed why because she beat an elite filed of runners. Rememmber Zola Bud the runner that trip up Mary Decker during the 84 games she look like a man for sure.

    This is just crazy!