Saturday, August 22, 2009

Oh Boy!

Caster Semenya (pictured here) is at the center of a 21st century international battle of the sexes. Her own. You see, the International Amateur Athletic Federation is questioning the gender of this world champion women's track star. Semenya won the women's 800 meter race last week with an astounding time of 1 minute 55.45 seconds. The 18 year old athlete's drastically improved time, deep voice and less than feminine features drew the attention of IAAF officials. They are launching and investigation to determine "her" gender. The results will take two weeks.

Maybe I skipped some crucial biology lectures in college. It takes two weeks to determine if a person is male of female? So you can't tell just by looking? Wow. I may have prematurely and possibly erroneously judged some folks. Seriously, I'm a little nervous.

Turns out that the IAAF is not accusing Semenya, the coach, or the family of any intentional wrong doing. They believe that she may appear to be a woman physically but may have sufficient genetic chromosomes to physiologically be a man, at some microscopic level. If Semenya turns out to be more man than woman, she...I mean he could be disqualified from competing in the Olympics.

The South African government is outraged. Some supporters are accusing the IAAF of both sexism and racism because the second place winner (the young lady Semenya beat the brakes off of) is European.

The family says Semenya is a girl. The IAAF alleges that Semenya is a boy. Speculation may abound for years to come even after the test results come back. I don't know what Semenya's gender is. I do know that male or female, that body is sick. And a 1 minute 55.45 second 800 meter run is fast, no matter who you are.

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