Sunday, December 13, 2009

IAAF offers to pay for Caster Semenya's gender surgery if she fails verification test

The International Association of Athletics Federations has offered to pay Caster Semenya's medical expenses should she require gender surgery or other treatment to continue competing as a woman.

By Simon Hart
Published: 10:05PM GMT 11 Dec 2009

The IAAF is still awaiting the final results of the gender verification test carried out on the South African teenager during the World Championships in Berlin in August, though leaked reports have indicated that she is a hermaphrodite with internal testes and has three times the normal level of testosterone for a female.

If that is confirmed by the panel of scientists studying her condition, then the issue for the IAAF will be whether her raised testosterone gives her an unfair advantage over her rivals – a situation that would require remedial treatment if she wishes to race again in women's competitions.

Complete article: Click here

Editorial comments from OII-Australia:

  1. There is no such thing as a human hermaphrodite. Hermaphrodism in humans – having one full set of female organs of reproduction and one full set of male organs of reproduction – is impossible. The application of the word "hermaphrodite" to human beings who are or may be intersex is an attempt to make us out to be fabulous monsters, creatures of ancient Greek myth and legend, deviant freaks and not real human beings. It is a weapon in the armoury of denial, of the refusal to recognize that variations in sex development exist and are so common as to have a prevalence of between 1:60 and 1:100 of the human population. By denying we exist, by pretending we are mythical inventions, the deniers can get away with doing whatever they like to us.
  2. Ms Semenya is not an hermaphrodite. See above.
  3. The word 'gender' means one's innate sense of being male or female, as a result of theorizing unsupported by actual evidence by John Money and second wave feminism since the 1950s. 'Gender' as we know it now is an invention of psychology and not a fact of biology. Sex is biological. Intersex is biological. 'Gender,' now being defined as psychological even though biological science continues to show that one's innate sense of what one's sex is as a function of one's brain sex, cannot be formed or reformed or assigned or reassigned by surgery, which is a manipulation of one's biology or more properly physiology. That is, 'gender surgery' is impossible. How can surgery on a someone's genitals somehow affect their innate sense of their sex? To believe it can is voodoo science at best. And voodoo is exactly what medicine has been practising upon the genitals of intersex newborns since the 1950's.
  4. If the IAAF is so desperately keen to know what Ms Semenya's gender is, why do they not simply ask her if she is a woman or a man?
  5. There is no actual evidence that having internal testes inevitably causes testicular cancer. It appears that, empirically, there may be a possibility of cancer later developing in 3% to 9% of people who have internal testes, although we have yet to find hard evidence for that assumption. By way of comparison, 10% to 12% of women contract breast cancer. Yet, surgeons do not remove all women's breasts as a matter of course. Surgeons in western countries do remove the testes from all AIS, CAIS and PAIS women as a matter of course. Why? It would appear that the authorities simply do not like the idea that some women may have testes.
  6. We find the idea that the IAAF may require Ms Semenya to undergo surgery to remove possible internal testes in order for her to continue competing quite disgusting and completely unjustifiable.


  1. As usual popular sentiment proves to be incapable of understanding the nuanced details of "scientific research". Assuming Caster is PAIS - the testosterone is only affecting her partially. There may not be much of any way to assess how much the Testosterone does affect her cells BUT the same is true for all humans. We doubt that any studies have been done to assess the actual cellular use of hormones - the uptake by organs and the feedback thereby generated - in the general population. Therefore the range of testosterone or other hormones in the so-called normal population and the degree to which it effects hormonal feedbacks in that population is as unknown as it is in Caster's situation.
    This reaction is typical of fundamental conservatives requirement for social stability no matter how low a standard of living and happiness such stability requires.