Sex may seem an easy thing to determine, but the case of Caster Semenya proves it is anything but.
Semenya, a world record holder the 800 meter run has been under scrutiny for weeks regarding whether or not she can compete in womens' event as there have been questions regarding testosterone levels in her body.
Semenya has been forced to undergo tests and now, according to a source close to the case, it has been determined that Semenya is a hermaphrodite. From the Times of London:
If the allegation is backed up by the official results, the South African may find herself stripped of her gold medal and banned from racing. The IAAF, the world governing body, refused to comment on the claim last night, but earlier in the day its general secretary, Pierre Weiss, said: “It is clear that she is a woman but maybe not 100 per cent."
The source, who is said to be close to the IAAF investigation, claimed that the 18-year-old athlete had internal testes and no womb or ovaries.
The situation is extremely delicate because of a lack of precedents and Semenya’s high profile in South Africa. The African National Congress Youth League has already accused the IAAF of racism, while Mr Chuene has resigned from the IAAF Council in protest. The source told the Australian Daily Telegraph: “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."
Nick Davies, IAAF spokesman, said: “If she has excessive testosterone levels that can be treated, then she needs to consent to do this.”
The IAAF is still lacking the South African tests, which it wants to back up its own findings. At yesterday’s press conference at the World Athletics Final in Salonika, Greece, Mr Weiss said: “We have to see if she has any advantage from her possibly being between two sexes.”
This case definitely puts notions of sex and gender to the test. What say you all?