Friday, May 3, 2019

I Stand With Caster Semenya

Caster Semenya is an intersex woman who is also an amazing runner. Too amazing, for a woman who happens to be black, apparently.

Caster Semenya Loses Case to Compete as a Woman in All Races

Female track athletes with naturally elevated levels of testosterone must decrease the hormone to participate in certain races at major competitions like the Olympics, the highest court in international sports said Wednesday in a landmark ruling amid the pitched debate over who can compete in women’s events. 
The decision was a defeat for Caster Semenya, a two-time Olympic champion at 800 meters from South Africa, who had challenged proposed limits placed on female athletes with naturally elevated levels of the muscle-building hormone testosterone.

Black women have already pointed out that if she were a white woman, especially one who looked more stereotypically female and conformed to white supremacist beauty standards, this would never have been an issue. Though you also can't underestimate intersexism on its own. Of course, the intersection of intersexism and misogynoir must be really intense.

The point is that this is bullshit. Human beings are varied and like any living species, prone to genetic mutations and abnormalities. But we react differently to different kinds of people who have differences to the norm that happen to make them better at sports. Many people have already brought up Michael Phelps. He has a genetic abnormality that makes his body produce less lactic acid, which, if the Magic School Bus is correct, is produced by tired muscles and creates that tired muscle feeling. So he can just keep swimming (ba dum push) and that's why he won all those medals.

But no one was like "okay you need to take these drugs to make your muscles produce more lactic acid because it's not fair to the average lactic acid swimmers."

But they're making this woman take hormone blockers? That's going to affect more than her running ability.

This is just gender essentialism, intersexism and misogynoir. People who were born with traits that make them good at a sport play that sport. That's how sports work. Should I complain that I'm not tall enough to play basketball? None of that shit is "fair."

I can't imagine how awful it must be for an athlete like Semenya to have to either submit to hormone therapy she doesn't want or have her passion ripped from her. This was a shit ruling and I hope it can be overturned somehow. I haven't seen any specific action recommended for people to take but just keep fighting gender essentialism and binarism however you can. Try not to gender strangers. Remember that gender is something we made up and adopted into society a long time ago and it's not some set-in-stone reality laid down by god.

And of course, stand publicly with Caster Semenya. I hope she's okay right now.

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