Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Ain't I A Woman, Too?

Lots of folks have their panties in a knot. It’s about a gender test being demanded of an athlete, South Africa’s Caster Semenya. Semenya won gold in the 800 m at the 2009 World Championships in Athletics with a time of 1:55.45 in the final, again setting the fastest time of the year. After the race, other runners raised suspicions about her gender. Semenya stated she was unconcerned about the rumours or the verification and that she considered boycotting the medal ceremony as a result.

The world track and field federation calls this test, “extremely complex, difficult,” involving a gynecologist, endocrinologist, psychologist, an internal medicine specialist and an expert on gender. I’m curious what constitutes such an expert. The spokesman for the track and field federation is quoted as saying

"If there’s a problem and it turns out that there’s been a fraud … that someone has changed sex, then obviously it would be much easier to strip results. However, if it’s a natural thing and the athlete has always thought she’s a woman or been a woman, it’s not exactly cheating."

The IAAF's handling of the case has spurred many negative reactions. A number of athletes, including retired sprinter Michael Johnson, have criticised the organization for its "unfair" and "embarrassing" treatment of Semenya. Prominent South African civic leaders, commentators, politicians, and activists have characterized the controversy as racist, as well as an affront to Semenya's privacy and human rights. Media commentators have also characterized the controversy as sexist, saying it highlights unfair treatment of female athletes.

The IAAF said it only made the sex test public after it had already been reported in the media, denying charges of racism and expressing regret of "the allegations being made about the reasons for which these tests are being conducted." The federation also explained that the motivation for the test was not suspected cheating but a desire to determine if she has a "rare medical condition" giving her an unfair competitive advantage. The president of the IAAF stated that the case could have been handled with more sensitivity.

Does LOL mean "laughing out loud"?

Source: Wikipedia

No comments:

Post a Comment