Olympic Champion Caster Semenya continues to answer questions about her gender

by spicyray

S

outh African Olympic champion Caster Semenya has again come under fire for the question regarding her gender.  The 31-year-old middle-distance runner rose to fame after her dominant performance in winning the 800m race. 

While her impressive performance should have brought proper notoriety, this hasn’t been the case, which in turn provoked defiance during an episode with HBO’s Real Sports last Tuesday. “They thought I had a dick, probably,” Semenya said during the interview.  “I told them: ‘It’s fine. I’m a female, I don’t care. If you want to see I’m a woman, I will show you, my vagina. All right?’”

Semenya had to undergo sex testing after her victory at the 2009 World Championships.  She was cleared to return to competition the following year.  As part of the testing, ordered by the sport’s world governing body, particular attention was paid to what is known as two X chromosomes, which women are biologically born with.

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Semenya’s test results showed she had no traces of a womb or ovaries.   In fact, conclusions revealed that Semenya produced male-like testosterone sexual organs, which equaled three times higher than most women produce. 

Semenya explained, saying she suffered from a condition known as hyperandrogenism, which resulted in testosterone that gives women extra muscle strength.  Repeatedly, she has called herself an intersex woman born a girl, but with XY chromosomes, which are routinely associated with elevated testosterone found in men. 

However, according to news reports, the International Association of Athletics Federations handed down clear guidelines, which stated that women athletes who showed traces of hyperandrogenism must undergo a medication regime to bring down their testosterone levels to the point of non-detection.   Semenya maintained she followed protocol by taking the medication but found it had adverse effects.   “It made me sick, made me gain weight, panic attacks, I don’t know if I was ever going to have a heart attack,” she told HBO Real Sports. “It’s like stabbing yourself with a knife every day. But I had no choice.”

In 2020, she took her case to the court, but lost an appeal against the Court of Arbitration (CAS), given that the Swiss Federal Tribunal (SFT) made it clear in 2019 that women athletes who claim they suffered from hyperandrogenism must take medication to complete.

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