Viewpoint: Caster Semenya ruling demonstrates our ‘myopic’ view of athletes and gender

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Caster Semenya. Image: AFP

In the intricate and emotional case of Caster Semenya, there is no such thing as fair. Her situation vexes traditional sports logic. It challenges the inflexibility of the way we divided athletics long ago: Males are easily defined as males and should compete against other males; and females are easily defined as females and should compete against other females.

In the myopic manner that we currently view gender and sports, Semenya is a biological oddity. And so, the solution — delivered as a measure of fairness to “normal” females racing against Semenya — is quite cruel: Change or go away. In order to compete in the biggest international track events, Semenya has to take medications to decrease her testosterone level. If she declines, there is no place for her on the grandest stage.

Related article:  Women's sex drive can be boosted with testosterone. Long-term risks need to be studied.

On Wednesday [May 1], the Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled against Semenya’s appeal in the landmark case and chose to uphold the International Association of Athletics Federations’ rule. It took the panel of three judges more than two months to decide, by a 2-1 margin, that the IAAF is right to have a policy targeting the testosterone levels of women competing at distances ranging from 400 meters to a mile.

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Read full, original post: Caster Semenya ruling shows how far we have to go in understanding gender

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