Caster Semenya: the right to compete


Let it be expressly known that this piece is my (very strong) personal opinion on the ongoing case between the IAAF vs Caster Semenya in the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). And that opinion is that this case is discriminatory.

For those who are unfamiliar with the story, here’s the gist of it. During the course of 2018, the International Assocoation of Athletics Federations announced its intention to enforce new regulations for athletes with hyperandrogenism. Btw, hyperandrogenism is the scientific term for differences of sexual development which in women, would mean having higher testosterone levels than the “average” female.

Testosterone is believed to enhance athletic performance. So, in the case of IAAF vs Semenya, the IAAF want to force all females participating in the 400m to 1 mile events to limit their testosterone levels to “normal female levels” by taking hormone suppressants of some sort.

The problem I have with all this lies in the questions that I have failed to find answers to whilst following this case:

1. The events subjected to hormone suppression are exactly those that Caster excels in – if the IAAF really wants to level the playing field for all female athletes,  why doesn’t this proposed rule apply to all female athletic events?

2. Who determines what the “normal” level of testosterone in a female is or should be?

3. If Caster was number 2 or 3 & not a multiple global world champion, would the IAAF even care?

4. Is Caster the first hyperanderogenous woman to kill it in her events?

5. If Caster were a white female, would the IAAF even be pulling this stunt? I’m sorry to have to go there, but I did 🤷🏾‍♀️

There have been other hyperandrogenous female athletes that have been subject to hormone suppression in the past, but none as skilled and on top of their game as Caster. Is it really that bad to celebrate a black female for being a world champion?

As far as I’ve read, Caster grew up as a female, identifies as a female, and has never competed with males. It’s not like she’s a failed male or transgender athlete that decided to compete in female events to increase her chances of winning.

Why is it so hard for the IAAF to believe that a black woman can be that great? 

Whatever the outcome may be (and I hope the evidence presented in the hearing is based on sound scientific research), Ms. Caster Semenya, I stand behind you and your right to compete!

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