Okay friends, prepare yourself – because this is a bit of a mouthful, and it’s pretty controversial, too. The highest court in the sporting industry, the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Switzerland, has ruled that female athletes with abnormally high testosterone levels are ‘discriminatory’ yet necessary to maintain a fair and equal competition.
South African track star Caster Semenya and other women with high testosterone levels will have to reduce their levels in order to compete, a court has ruled.
The court said the regulations are discriminatory but necessary to ensure fair competition. https://t.co/k8iEEij3X5
— NPR (@NPR) May 2, 2019
South African track runner, Caster Semenya, and a number of other emerging South African athletes asked that the Court of Arbitration for Sport to overturn any regulations by the International Association of Athletics Foundation (IAAF) that forced athletes to lower their high, albeit natural, testosterone levels to a prescribed and ‘fair’ amount.
The regulation is intended to maintain a competitive yet ‘equal’ playing field, yet Semenya has fast become the IAAF’s target in recent months due to her abnormally high levels of testosterone that rival the average males’. It’s pretty crazy when you think about it, considering she is female. It just feels wrong, and a massive kick in the guts to women who are born with slightly different traits (for goodness sake, who isn’t born slightly different as a whole?!).
The IAAF recommends Semenya, and other female athletes, take hormonal contraceptives in order to suppress the male sex hormone if they wish to compete in any track and field events in the future. It’s a landmark case and decision, potentially for all the wrong reasons – with social media absolutely in uproar.
If Caster Semenya had a more stereotypically female looking appearance and longer hair and wore make up during her races, and was white, no one would have given her any shit for winning a lot.
— Katelyn Burns (@transscribe) May 1, 2019
3 apparently hard-to-accept truths about Caster Semenya hysteria:
💪Women run fast,
💪Black women fairly beat their competitors, and are still women.
💪Physical sex isnt binary: it’s a vast spectrum. ~2% of us are Intersex, but all of us have different bodies to each other.
— Sally Rugg (@sallyrugg) May 1, 2019
Michael Phelps is seen as a natural talent because his body naturally produces less than half the lactic acid of his opponents, but Caster Semenya is being barred from international athletics for being a black woman with a high testosterone level
— 🦝Meaney Miney Mo🦝 (@raccomrade) May 1, 2019
Semenya attempted to appeal the regulations and in what has been duped a ‘surprise verdict’, devastatingly lost. The case has been highly contentious and has stirred a lot of controversy across the globe, with many left wondering why a governing body so hell bent on cracking down on drug taking is recommending the opposite. Whist there are proponents for the regulation, many argue that the ruling fails to recognise other characteristics that make a sporting star a champion; like dedication, intensity, ferocity and enduring motivation.
In relation to the associated health risks, it’s thought that hormone treatment for athletes with ‘differences in sexual development’ could be harmful and potentially negative – especially in the case of lifelong consumption.
But you have to ask the question – who gets to determine how female you are?
Source: @GoddessLethabo Twitter, @NPR Twitter, @slondonuk Twitter