Gender test?

4 09 2009

A South African athlete Caster Semenya has been asked to take a gender test by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF)….

Now what is a gender test?  Isn’t it a sex test they are trying to do? They want to know if she is a man or woman. Why don’t they just ask her and her parents (since she just turned 18) – is Semenya a girl or boy?

The same thing happened to the Indian athlete Santhi Soundarajan – she –  unfairly and unjustly – was stripped of her medal in 2006. What did she do? She tried to kill herself. That’s what this kind of public scrutiny makes people do.  And we all know how easy suicide is as an option amoung young sri lankans.

If Semenya has grown up a women and she believes she is a woman then she IS a woman – this has nothing to do with her gender – which is separate from her sex. If the IAAF had any doubts as to whether she was a man or woman, they should have done their tests BEFORE she was allowed to compete insead of embarrasing her and making a big deal out of it.

Besides, this notion that sex is only dual is so archaic and not in touch with the reality of today. What about the hijras in india – are they male or female? This idea that people have to either male or female is old fashioned and redundant. Only nations and organisations who live in the last century think along these conservative lines. Today’s world is much more complicated and we need to accept this and get with the programme…

more on Semenya: http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2009/08/is-the-south-african-runner-a-man-or-a-woman.html

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5 responses

25 08 2009
pol sambol

you are absolutely right voluntaryverbiage (VV?)- if susanthika was a man imagine the celebration. now all we hear is scandal. i am waiting to see what happens now that boxing has become an olympic sport…i am sure more messed up theories of sex and gender will emerge. Women are just never good enough…..no matter how hard we try…

25 08 2009
voluntaryverbiage

Ah yes, the Soundarajan “case”…what in the world did they mean when they ruled that “she does not posess the sexual characteristics of a woman” (in this particular instance, refereing to the fact that she did not have female reproductve organs and could not reproduce, independent of hormonal interactions) egh. a) I hate this whole reproductive definitions of gender. b.) Even if hormones were an issue as is generally the case, that too is based on a norm ascribed to men and women.

This would never have been the case if Semenya or Soundarajan was a “man”. Which male athlete has been asked “are you really a man?”, which male athlete has been disqualified because he had “too much eostrogen”? On the other hand successful female athletes could really be men and successful male athletes could really be too manly. No one escapes the obsession with testesterone – the potent symbol of power and performance in more ways than one!

Interesting how when women sports figures perform “better than they should”, they are accused of not being a women in the first place. I means seriously, a woman could never be that fast or strong right? Remember how they dissed Susanthika about being a man on local TV even after her Olympic feat. I bet she would have a presidentially decreed brass statue of her on independence square if she were a man – a real man 😛

Verbiage is setting in….the world just doesn’t know what to do with intersexed individuals or anything liminal for that fact. As seperate as gender is from sex, when exploring the world of intersex, it’s clear just how random the notion of sex is as well…

Atleast Soundarajan didn’t kill her self…she went on to become and athletics coach (haa! no consolation or excuse though!)..I wonder what fate awaits Semenya….if media and medical science has anything to do with it, I’ll start cringing in advance….

Oh on a side note, did anyone listen to the Phat 30 on Yes FM last Friday (21/08)? The stupid %%%% of a dj was laughing on about how Lady Gaga is actually not a woman, but a “lady”, we should be calling her “IT” etc. Then said “Kids she’s a hermaphrodite. I don’t even want to explain what that is on air. You just check it out.ewww. hahahahaahah”. So funny right? Yes Fm got one calmly angry caller “explaining” things to them after that.

It starts and (hopefully) ends right here….

26 08 2009
Anonymous

BEST QUOTE OF THE DAY
“This minefield of sexism and homophobia has long pushed female athletes into magazines like Maxim to prove their “hotness”–and implicitly their heterosexuality” – Edge of Sports

2 09 2009
13 09 2009
pol sambol

The latest news – even as disappointingly reported in the guardian newspaper – is that Semenya is being referred to as an Hermaphrodite. There is no such thing as an absolute hermaphrodite – someone with BOTH male and female genitalia. Most often such people are born with atypical genitalia and doctors or parents decide what the sex of the child will be depending on the most dominant genitalia. of course this is mostly decided based on the external bits and not whats really inside. Semenya is most likely inter sexed and should be correctly referred to as such…

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