IAAF: Woman athlete is a woman

July 6, 2010

At last, eleven months later, it seems that the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) has finally roused itself from its lethargy and clarified what it believes the status of Caster Semenya to be:

Caster Semenya may compete

Monte-Carlo – The process initiated in 2009 in the case of Caster Semenya (RSA) has now been completed.

The IAAF accepts the conclusion of a panel of medical experts that she can compete with immediate effect.

Please note that the medical details of the case remain confidential and the IAAF will make no further comment on the matter. [Via IAAF]

And that’s all the IAAF has to say about it? No apology to Ms Semenya for its discriminatory and sexist behaviour; its flagrant breaches of her human rights; its disturbing attempts to set itself up as arbiter and enforcer of a socially constructed gender binary?

The IAAF should be ashamed of themselves; their (in)actions diminish and demean all of us, and are entirely unforgivable when we consider the huge personal cost to Caster Semenya, whose grace and dignity is an example from which the IAAF would do well to learn.

As for the mass media’s rabid prurience, its global invasion of her privacy, its sexist assumptions, its wholesale mistreatment of Ms Semenya merely to sell a few more newspapers – all of these actions deserve nothing but the deepest contempt.

Let’s hope that the equally out-of-touch International Olympic Committee (IOC) now drops its own alarmingly befuddled plans to “advise” intersex athletes to have surgery before they’ll be allowed to compete. [Via]

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