Fabulous Female: Caster Semenya
This weeks Fabulous Female is (Mokgadi) Caster Semenya, the young female athlete who back in 2009 was accused of not being a woman, and has since then undergone various tests before finally, in 2010, being allowed to participate in international competitions again.
English: Caster Semenya during World Championships Athletics 2009 in Berlin (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Born in 1991, she was only 18 when these events took place. Going through adolescence is rough on anyone, with many (if not most) young people questioning their identity, sexuality, beliefs etc. But imagine, having the entire world questioning your gender? I can’t even begin to understand how difficult that must be for such a young girl – for any woman to be sure, but especially for someone that young.
She won, by the way, the 2009 World Championship in Women’s 800 meter, and was allowed to keep the prize and the medal. It is believed today that she is probably inter-gender (hermaphrodite), and that part of the reason why she is allowed to compete again, is because she is undergoing medical treatment to lower her testosterone levels.
The question is, how do we keep a balance between wanting fair and equal competition for all the participants, and ethical respect for the dignity and rights of the individual human being? Caster Semenya was born this way, she has not been cheating or taking performance enhancing drugs. I think we can all agree that of course competition should be fair for everyone, but how this case was handled is atrocious and shameful. Therefore, for standing tall and not giving up, saying “God made me the way I am and I accept myself.”, this week’s Fabulous Female is Caster Semenya.
What are your thoughts on Caster Semenya, and the issues of gender in sports?
Any suggestions for other fabulous ladies I can feature?