This is 2019, gender is no longer just binary male or female, it has become one of the biggest issues in the world. In the world of sports, South African Olympic gold medalist Caster Semenya has been subjected to blatant discrimination and ridicule by the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF).
On May 1, the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) ruled on the “IAAF Eligibility Regulations for Female Classification (Athletes with Differences of Sex Development)” commonly known as DSD Regulations. Part of the ruling read, “The Panel found that the DSD Regulations are discriminatory but the majority of the Panel found that, on the basis of the evidence submitted by the parties, such discrimination is a necessary, reasonable and proportionate means of achieving the IAAF’s aim of preserving the integrity of female athletics in the Restricted Events.”
On the 7th of May, the IAAF wrote a letter to the World Medical Association laying down the treatment that could be used to reduce testosterone. The letter stated, “In 46XY DSD individuals, reducing serum testosterone to female levels by using a contraceptive pill (or other means) is the recognised standard of care for 46XY DSD athletes with a female gender identity. These medications are gender-affirming.”
The irony of determining how womanly a woman should be in order to be considered a woman lays down dangerous precedence for what could happen not just in athletics but in other sports.
The IAAF further cemented its position by saying “it is the athlete’s right to decide (in consultation with their medical team) whether or not to proceed with any assessment and/or treatment. If she decides not to do so, she will not be entitled to compete in the female classification of any Restricted Event at an International Competition.”
According to the IAAF, if Semenya decides against taking the medicine to lower her testosterone levels, the only other way for her to compete in the female classification would be: “at any competition that is not an International Competition: in any event, without restriction;
“and at International Competitions: in any discipline other than track events between 400m and a mile”.
The absurdity of IAAF’s statement has left many on social media and around the world shocked. Semenya has dominated the 800m track race since 2009 when she ran as an 18-years-old. For many, this is beyond just Semenya, it is the trial of a black body.