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September 11, 2009


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OSM, you are damn right about everything you say. That's the same thing I thought when I read about this: what on earth gives everyone the right to her personal medical info? While some said the real concern is not so much her gender as whether she has an unfair competitive advantage based on a rare medical condition (questionable since this is all about gender), are they going to start excluding people with rare medical conditions too? Michael Phelps because he maybe has Ehlers Danlos and a unique physique that gives him an advantage? Excluding short gymnasts for deviating from the norm? Tall track runners? Where would such exclusion stop? Many athletes have always enjoyed some physical advantages by luck (genetics).


You are completely right about this. It is simply none of my business what her body is like. She's female. She says so. That's good enough for me.

One Sick Mother


You make a good point about most top athletes probably having some kind of natural genetic advantage. However the IAAF does try to limit some of them. There is the age limit in female gymnastics (don't know if you remember the controversy about that Chinese girl in the Bejing olympics).

And then of course, there is Oscar Pistorius, who was banned from the summer Olympic games because the IAAF said his prosthetic legs gave him an "unfair advantage". He is South African too, as it happens. I bet South Africans sports fans are doing their nut about all this.

of course, I look at these three examples and I immediately see that the IAAF hones in on people with VISIBLE differences: People who are well muscled, obviously youthful, or who carry their legs to the track in the back of the car.

They need to COMPLETELY overhaul their system. It is beyond broken.

yep. I'd invite her to a girl's night out.

Diane J Standiford

I am a man trapped in a female body. No one would ever consider me a man. My body is all woman, my brain is all man. I would LOVE to have her body. I could have gotten a sex change operation. Her condition has been written in history for centuries. Nothing new and socieital hatred is also quite old. Ignorance breeds prejudice. And many humans still are fascinated by "freaks" of nature. I have often felt I am a freak of nature, an accident, and I wish I hadn't been born. But here I am, no one can figure out the brain yet---I know it is not hormones with me. We humans are amazing in our complexities. We should rejoice in that, but instead we spit on it. Did tennis ever test Martina? Yet, she was beaten by Chris Everett. Skill, talent, and hard work trump hormones. I think the only reason we are privy to the medical test is a waiver I'm sure all athelets sign, otherwise we wouldn't know about all the baseball steroid use. I'm afraid men would be fine opening competitions to women and they would beat them most of the time. We seperate to make a level playing field and the women she beat can't be happy losing to a body that they could only duplicate with hormone injections. (Which are illegal in sports.) I feel very bad for the runner, she is too young to be in such a spotlight, and you bring up good points about her home. It IS none of my business, but I would love to know how she feels about this. I wish there were a test to show that my brain indeed is male...I hope in the future babies will enter the world with body parts that match their brain sex. The Williams sisters dress femininely on court, it often comes back to the "look."

One Sick Mother


Thanks for you comment.

Yes, I firmly believe that gender is imprinted on the brain, not the body. Most of us are lucky in that our brain and body gender match. But there are definitely those few who were cheated, and they got the brain of one gender and the body of another. I can't even contemplate what that must have been like for you.

Yes you are right about the "look" being important. I found it interesting that Ms Semenya recently posed for a magazine looking glammed up and girly. I suppose she thinks she doesn't have a choice. I feel very bad for her.


Lisa Moon

OSM, I completely agree with everything you've written here. In fact, when I heard Ms Semenya's gender being under dispute, the first thing I thought was 'It's NOT the public's business to know her medical information!!!'

My next thought was to consider why gender is subject to such scrutiny; as mentioned, like steroids and other hormonal 'advantages' perhaps her internal organs make her BETTER than other women?

That's what I keep coming back to, the implication that male organs make you better/more capable than female organs do.

Yes, I realise that there are separate competitions for males and females, with the expectation that men are able to perform better, faster and stronger than women.

But this follows the notion that not only would one's internal and external organs, etc. 'match up' but that gender, like orientation, is a binary concept. I would respectfully question that assumption.

Diane, I most appreciate your comment and your honesty. Thank you for deepening my knowledge and understanding.

Like when people are forced to check of a gender box labelled with the choices Male or Female, there is such a lack of understanding that there is a range of experience not accounted for nor explained to most people.

I don't profess to know the right solution when it comes to professional sports. Perhaps there could be a category for intersexed/gender dysphoric and other persons not represented by binary thinking?

But I'm digressing in a category I know full well that I am no expert on, by any means and I return to the sentiment first expressed: we, none of us, have the right or need to know of Ms Semenya's medical information. Period.


I agree completely. Medical information is supposed to be confidential. There is widespread, recorded incidents from Amnesty international regarding AIDS where the leaking of confidential information even to medical practitioners who were not supposed to have it can have dramatic results (like a person with AIDS being left unlogged in a room in a hospital three days until they died...because a nurse got the information, because gossip in the break room happens - that's not 25 years ago, that's 2).

Semenya's treatment, even if she now moved to the US, would be dramatically different; any hospitalization, any medical test, would bring up the 'who helps Semenya change?', most athletes are hospitalized, she will face, for the rest of her life, hearing nurses saying they don't want to go treat that (insert the hundreds of statements floating about)! Hearing doctors obsessing and demanding to see genitalia when they are there to check if a hamstring is healing correctly.

I agree, the IAAF cannot ignore basic medical ethics with impunity and there SHOULD be a sanctioning body within the IAAF which levies fines, strips doctors of licences, and fires individuals. It isn't funny, it isn't a joke. The truth is that until sometime in november, no one will know (and honestly, only Semenya should know the RULING for the IAAF, which is not a medical determination - the IAAF have not claimed to be able to make that determination with certainty, that is up to specialized medical clinics worldwide if needed or appropriate). But by now, BILLIONS of people have some opinion on this young woman, on her gender, on her leaked results or non-results (The Australian paper did not say what Fox News did, Fox's story was picked up, and the title was, 'Semenya has male testes...' the first line of the story was, 'The IAAF deny Semenya has male testes.....' - oh the finest in standards of journalism here - which is why the BBC did not run the piece - as third hand rumors does not actually make 'news').

Thank you for reminding me and everyone of this critical fact.

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