Sunday, September 13, 2009

Caster Semenya: The woman the others fear.


It all started when an 18 year old from South Africa will compete in her 800 m race. Due to her muscular built body and her deep voice, the other competitors went affright allowing Lilliputian complex to creep in them as they murmur "she is a man". Before the tests results were even conducted, the IAAF had started humiliating her by barring her from making her traditional victory lap that all victors do after they win a competition like hers. Before the results were even discussed with her, an Australian newspaper had already published them. How did they get the results when they were not in the laboratory? Either the IAAF doctors or those in charge of the tests betrayed the young lady. The world has failed the 18 year old!

She is not the first woman to go through gender controversies. There was nothing like internal examinations. It was not until the autopsy of Stella Walsh that they discovered she had both male and female chromosomes even after participating in the 1932 and 1936 Olympics . That is why she lived a happy life until her tragic death.


Many others have trodden in Semenya’s shoes but none had the humiliation she has had. The only one who comes closer is that of the Indian: Santhi Soundarajan . The result was an attempted suicide. Gender tests have not begun today. They began since 1930. So why hitherto is the world still finding difficulty dealing with them?

Do you remember Dora Ratjen whom the Nazis forced to live as a woman ? She still did not go through the humiliation that Semenya is going. In addition, those consented in transforming their situations but Semenya’s is natural. She was born a girl, grew up a girl but happen to have male features too.

Another example is that of Edinanci Silva a Brazilian who “was born with both male and female sex organs. In the mid-1990s she had surgery in order to live and compete as a woman” . Even though the IOC knew very well that he had undergone surgery to compete as a woman, they still did not make it a deal. Thus I do not see Semenya being stopped from competing else it will be gross miscarriage of justice.

Caster Semenya’s parents raised her up as a girl and she sees herself as a girl. Her immediate physical features which are the breast and the vagina all testify to that. I am aware simply a strip test will be insufficient to determine if you are male or female. However, in matters of a race it should suffice. When we go internal to determine ones sexual status is an aberration since there are known women who were born naturally with the deformity of not having a uterus . Does she immediately become a man simply because she has no uterus? Her condition does not empower her; rather the psychological weight of never conceiving and bearing her own child may handicap her if the world keeps up the drumbeats.

Some argue that she should not be allowed to compete with other women because it gives her an unfair advantage. What makes me laugh is that before she won the competition she had entered other competitions. But because she did not win, the intersex status was not an issue. Immediately she began winning it was now all of a sudden a different matter. By the way, don’t’ the feminists say that “what a man can do a woman can do even better”? Why then the fuss? Why don’t they allow her to enter the races she wants to enter? Ok then if she is not made to run with the women, should she be made to run with the men where she will gain an unfair disadvantage?

Just by having male characteristics would not have made her win the race because there are many men who would have run and taken last with Marion Jones or even Paula Radcliffe. There are many men who will be left meters apart if they had to compete with Allyson Felix. Just because you are a male does not make you faster than a woman. Furthermore, looking at the effects of congenital adrenal hyperplasia, one does not see speed .

The leak again in her tests results shows a grievous human weakness: keeping a secret. People do not know how to keep secrets. All those who leaked the test results to cash in money or popularity have failed the young woman and failed God. If the ruckus was well handled, no ear would have heard of it; you would have just realized that the athlete is no more running or she is running depending on the consensus.

Meanwhile, though it is difficult to point directly from the Bible that this is what it says about hermaphrodites, we may find some pointers. Nonetheless, whatever reason as biblical doctrine we profess, will be by deduction. One thing is clear that those with physical conditions were to be sheltered from raillery because it would be like cursing the deaf and the blind (Lev 19:14). All these imperfections came through sin and so we will just have to deal with them. What does the bible say about hermaphrodites? Semenya should not be made an outcast for it is not her fault. It is like a man born blind. Should we blame them for being born blind? It just happened that her own infirmity is a blessing that she is ready to embrace. She should be allowed to drain her tears of not being able to bear children from her own womb with medals from the track field.

Until then, let Semenya do what she does best.

Prince & PA Hamilton Ayuk



“Bonyfish beware because the same net that caught the jawless fish, caught the cartilaginous fish” (Hamilton Ayuk).
Beware earthly paradise seekers because there is a serpent in every paradise"(Hamilton Ayuk).

Idle people write, idler people read, and idlest people read and whine that idle people are taking their time (Hamilton Ayuk).

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