Sunday, October 11, 2009

Drag Race: Caster Semenya's Gender Controversy

Back in the 1960's, controversies in women's sports caused them to introduce mandatory gender tests in the Olympics. It was based on the idea that some of the female athletes were doing so well that they might be men in disguise. It has long been considered a barbaric, humiliating, and sexist practice that was ended in the mid-nineties. I agreed...until I stumbled across the story of Caster Semenya, a gold medal-winning South African track runner. After questions over her appearance triggered a gender test, it was revealed that secret gender testing before the race revealed she's actually a hermaphrodite. The sad part, to me, is that this kind of thing will make it harder for legitimate women who excel in women's sports.

Even sadder? The makeover they gave Semenya before the tests came out to make "her" look more feminine. This picture is supposed to make us stop questioning the gender? Yeesh. It makes Semenya look like a drag queen.

3 comments:

Mauricem said...

LOL at title. I was saddened by this story as well. At first it seemed silly. Then I saw the pics of her and wondered myself, but figured it was just good ol' steroids. Now, to have the whole world know you're a hermaphrodite when she didn't know before (supposedly her mother says she'd been plagued with these questions her whole life) it would be a sad thing indeed.
The government is suing over the violation to her rights to privacy and I agree.
In the end, it accomplishes nothing since she did nothing illegal. It's not illegal to join the competition as a hermaphrodite but that may change.

Mauricem said...

As for the picture, she looks like Serena Williams to me...

Monkey Migraine said...

Forgot this link:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/2009/sep/18/caster-semenya-gender-tests-south-africa

The controversy is not so much for her but for South Africa. They knew she was a hermaphrodite, but did nothing to inform her or stop her from competing.

And yeah...Semenya does look like Serena. Disturbingly so.