Senin, 07 September 2009

Is She a Woman?

After 18-yr-old South African Caster Semenya turned in the fastest time of the year in a women’s 800-meter event in 2009, track and track and field’s governing body ordered an investigation into her gender. They're demanding “proof” that she’s actually a female, so they’ve assembled a committee tell them. Let's see, now, a geneticist, an endocrinologist, a gynecologist, and a psychologist are getting together to determine the sex of…

It sounds like the beginning of a bad joke, but it’s not. Legitimate physiological and anatomical “gender confusion” can be caused by sex hormone imbalances, tissue unresponsiveness to sex hormones, genes that don’t turn on properly during fetal development, or even sex-determining genes located on the wrong chromosome (in rare cases, an XY male can develop the characteristics of a female).

Sports federations should develop rules that allow gender determination (for the purposes of sports competition) before an athletic event, not afterwards, in the public eye. One can only wonder about the emotional damage about to be done to young Caster Semenya.

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