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chelle21689's avatar

Do you think that Semenya should be able to compete in Women's Olympics although she has both male and female sex organs?

Asked by chelle21689 (5281 points ) August 8th, 2012

Semenya competed in the 800m race in the Olympics and smoked all the other runners by over 1 minute! Her masculine appearance and impressive time made people raise an eyebrow and demanded she take a gender-test. They have found that she has no ovaries, no womb, undescended testes, and triple the amount of testosterone compared to other women.

If you asked me, they should’ve done that beforehand and privately because it is humiliating…

Anyways, many people say that she should be able to compete and that her medal shouldn’t be taken away. Do you think it’s fair though if she has triple the amount of testosterone in her body that allows her to have this advantage due to her male counterpart? Why or why not?

Story: http://www.cnn.com/2009/SPORT/09/11/athletics.semenya.gender.iaaf/index.html

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27 Answers

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I don’t have the wisdom to make those calls. Is it her fault her body did that?

chelle21689's avatar

Mamacakes, explain?

Symbeline's avatar

I don’t see why not. Is there some rule in the Olympics that state you just can’t have all that testosterone?

chelle21689's avatar

I think there is a rule about transgendered, chromosomes, and all of that. That’s why they go through the screenings and all the testing afterward. I don’t know too much about it. Not sure if she failed it or not.

Symbeline's avatar

@chelle21689 If there is some rule about this, then I guess it should be respected. Personally though, I still think she should be able to compete and keep the medals.
I certainly agree though, they should have done the screening BEFORE any events were undertaken, instead of exposing her to all this humiliation and drama.

Supacase's avatar

Is she technically female only by physical appearance, including genitalia, or are there mixed answers regarding other biological questions?

I really don’t know much about all of this. But if she feels and believes she is a woman, then she is a woman. On the other hand, I’m unsure about where she should compete. This is a gray area in a place that only accounts for black and white. (Which needs to be fixed somehow.)

Didn’t something similar happen a few years ago? What happened there?

Edited to add: Oh! It was her in 2009!

…after Semenya became the 800 meters world champion in August 2009. The questions surrounding Semenya led to her being temporarily stripped of her gold medal, suspended and subjected to an embarrassing round of gender tests and, of course, ridicule. Since being cleared in July by the International Association of Athletics Federations to continue competing…

If, as the article from 2010 states, she was already cleared by the IAAF, why is this an issue once again?

chelle21689's avatar

Yeah, this happened several times at the Olympics over the past several years. It’s definitely not the first.

She is a female by appearance, all her life she has been considered female, she has a vagina…but she also has undescended testes which produces 3x more testosterone than other women.

I know many people will crucify me for this, but I kind of think it’s unfair to other women. But at the same time, she can’t help how she was born AND it seems like discrimination if they don’t allow her to compete. But at the same time… I mean, if she has the testosterone levels of men, that’s just like women competing against a man. The Olympics needs to define their rules more clearly and like I said before…not do this afterward and publicly. There was an Indian that went through this and she attempted suicide…but fortunately she’s fine now.

chelle21689's avatar

Really? WOW! They’re making it a second issue? Haven’t the learned from last time! I didn’t even realize that. CNN reported it today so I don’t know? LOL I’ll post the link from CNN

http://www.cnn.com/2012/08/08/health/athletes-gender-testing/index.html
2012<—-

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@chelle21689 I doubt anyone will crucify you. It’s a tough call. The hormones give her an edge, but it’s nothing she did. It just happened.

chelle21689's avatar

Oh, nevermind. This is a recent article but they’re just bringing up the discussion again 4 years later. Nevermind the date, I just want discussion going :)

Symbeline's avatar

@chelle21689 Yeah, no crucifixion going on. If anything you’re right, they should probably define their rules a little better.

josie's avatar

She [sic] is neither male nor female.

The division of compitition by gender in the olympics implies that the IOC expects you to be one or the other.

But, apparently if you are neither, you just get to pick according to whim.

But then what if the whole Women’s Olympics becomes dominated by hermaphrodites? What will they do then?

Doesn’t really seem fair to me, but what do I know.

chelle21689's avatar

You know, come to think of it…this is usually an issue with track and swimming. I don’t know if this should apply to other sports? I think women are capable of beating men at Volleyball? lol

athenasgriffin's avatar

Morally, I think she should be able to compete as whatever gender she considers herself to be. It seems cruel to take it away from her now.

Nullo's avatar

I’m with @chelle21689; it’s not exactly fair to the other Olympians. It may not be Semenya’s fault, but then it’s not a punishment either.

ETpro's avatar

It’s odd it took so long to catch. There are mandatory doping tests performed before competition, and testosterone is one thing both males and females can take in large doses to build muscle mass.

It’s painful every time we have to deal with one of these cases where there doesn’t really seem to be a fair answer. But it’s better now that we at least acknowledge that such things happen. There was a time when all gender variance was forced into the shadows. Gender was expected to be digital—a 1 or a 0. Now at least we know it’s an analog scale and there are a near infinity of decimal positions that are somewhere greater than zero but somewhere short of being one.

El_Cadejo's avatar

I feel bad saying it but she really shouldnt be allowed to compete with women. I mean seriously just look at her, thats not fair to all the other women. Its a shame because shes an amazing athelete but I feel she’d be better off competing with the men if thats what her times are reflecting and the whole testostorone thing.

its a shame there arent more hermaphrodite atheletes or they could just get their own category and no one would have to be embarrased over things like this

chelle21689's avatar

I don’t think there are that many elite hermaphrodite athletes. It’s easy to say she should compete with men but I think she’d feel humiliated even more to be living and recognized as a woman her whole life only to compete with the men lol…even though she does run very fast. I think it might be slower than majority of men though.

rooeytoo's avatar

It is a bad situation but no one ever said life was fair. The question is whether her rights and feelings should prevail over the rest of the participants. If testerone levels are part of what determines gender, then she fails and should not be allowed to compete with the other females.
But they should settle it once and for all. This has to be a hellish situation for her to go through again. I wonder why she would put herself out there knowing she could be knocked down again.

_Whitetigress's avatar

A buddy brought this up with me. He said, if they want to test a female for over charged testosterone, why not test every single athlete and put everyone on the same playing field (as in, make sure no one goes over or under a certain amount of testosterone, then that’d be super fair)

Response moderated (Spam)
OpryLeigh's avatar

I honestly don’t know the answer here but I do think she has an unfair advantage over the other women. However, she shouldn’t be disqualified from competing at all and seeing as it is an either/or situation I would rather see her competing alongside the other women than not at all.

keobooks's avatar

Someone said she was transgendered. It seems that she’s intersexed, and probably has androgen resistece, meaning she is genetically male, but in the womb her body resisted androgens to make her body male and so became physically female looking instead.

Intersexed people make up less than 1% of the population and probably far less of the Olympic athlete population. I don’t think special rules should be made for them. They should compete as the gender they identify with. Most intersexed people identify with their gender from very early chilhood on. They may not have even known they were genetically the opposite gender until puberty.

Mama_Cakes's avatar

She just made it into the final.

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keobooks's avatar

There was a link in one of the articles to an intersexed person who found out that she was intersexed right after she won the silver in the 2006 Olympics. She had NO idea that she was genetically male until she was disqualified.

http://www.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/asiapcf/09/14/Semenya.India.Athlete/index.html

“Soundarajan says she found out the results of her gender test from newspaper and television reports. She told CNN: “It was the biggest shock of my life. The shock is still there in my mind.” She later attempted suicide because the shock was too much for her at the time.

Transgendered people are born one sex and choose to change. Intersexed people are different. They are born genetically one gender but at birth have ambigious looking genitalia or have genitalia resembling the opposite gender. Many of them have no idea they are not the gender they think they are. I can’t imagine a worse place to find out than standing on the dias at the olympics and getting told not only did you “cheat” and didn’t earn your medal, but you are not even a “real” woman.

I know this is a moot point now, but I don’t like seeing the terms interchanged. There may have been intersexed people competing in Olympics past, but there were no tests done.

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