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Caster Semenya Is The Man?

by | 19th, August 2009
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semenyaATHLETICZZzzzzz has been enlivened by South African Caster Semenya, favourite to win the women’s 800m at the World Athletics Championships and facing accusations that she is a man.

Semenya. Is this suspicion rooted in nominative determinism, where a person’s makeup is shaped by their name? Semen-ya.

There would be an easy way to tell. Female athletes wear bikini briefs. But Semanya sports an elongated Bermuda brief. Is that bulge muscle, a handkerchief stuffed into a pocket or is she dressing to left or to the right?

Semenya’s people have been forced on the defensive:

[Coach Michael Seme] added that when they stopped at a petrol station in Cape Town recently and Semenya entered the female toilets, the petrol attendants prevented her from doing so because they were convinced she was a man.

“Caster just laughed and asked if they would like her to take off her pants to show them she was a woman,” said Seme.

7718421Molatelo Malehopo, general manager of Athletics South Africa, says:

“She is a female. We are completely sure about that and we wouldn’t have entered her into the female competition if we had any doubts. We have not been absent-minded, we are very sure of her gender. We are aware of the claims that have been made but our aim at the moment is to prepare Caster for the race this evening.”

So no need for gender testing?

“We have not started testing and we have no plans to do.”

And what is gender testing? The Mail knows:

The well-placed source said Semenya would be subjected to a complex process of gender testing which could take several weeks.

How complex can it be?

Science of Sport says:

Even genetic testing cannot confirm male or female. In fact, it is so complex that to do proper gender testing, you have to take a multi-disciplinary approach, and make use of internal medicine specialists, gynecologists, psychologists, geneticists and endocrinologists. I am afraid that dropping your pants is not proof at all.

One person who might know is Kenya’s Janeth Jepkosgei Busienei, whose fall in an earlier heat caused Semenya to vault her.

What view did Busienei have?

But more than this – should all figures in the public eye be sex tested? Sex dictates how the media labels people, so it is only fair. Is Lady Gaga a man or a woman? Has anyone seen Prince Edward naked? Ann Widdecombe – he or she?

More to follow… And a gallery of evidence:



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Posted: 19th, August 2009 | In: Key Posts, Sports Comments (17) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink