Caster Semenya Update

Caster Semenya, the South African teenager who won the 800-meters at the world track championships so decisively last month that she was asked to undergo tests to confirm she's female, has reportedly been found to be intersex, with "no ovaries, but rather … internal male testes, which are producing large amounts of testosterone."

The linked article at the Guardian is not perfect, language-wise, choosing to use the outdated "hermaphrodite" instead of intersex, but it is leaps and bounds above coverage elsewhere. The Überfail Award goes, as usual, to the NY Daily News, which declares that Semenya "is a woman ... and a man!", uses "hermaphrodite," and helpfully explains (emphasis mine), "her testosterone levels are more than three times higher than those of a normal female."

Needless to say, don't read comments on this story at either link.

This is a complicated situation for the International Association of Athletics Federations, and I won't pretend I know what they should do—although, quite honestly, I feel like there's no legitimate argument for banning Semenya from women's competition. The case one always hears is some variation on: What will stop any man from just running as a woman then?!ohnoez!!! But the honest answer to that is: Just about everything.

It isn't going to happen. For a thousand different reasons.

Semenya identifies as female, has lived her life as female, and her elevated testosterone production is a biological anomaly that gives her an edge, the same way longer legs might. And I don't know about anyone else, but I feel pretty damn okay with letting every world-class intersex runner on the entire planet (all, like, one of them) compete as the gender as which she lives.

[Misogyny and transphobia will not be tolerated in this thread, as in all others.]

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