Caster Semenya Loses in Court Again

Olympic star targeted by discriminatory testosterone rules

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Caster Semenya, a South African Olympic gold medalist, is pulling out of September’s 800-meter competition at the world track and field championships in Qatar after a Switzerland court ruled on July 30 that she must adhere to rules requiring her to take testosterone-reducing medication.

The court ruling marked yet another setback in what has been a decades-long pattern of discrimination against the international track star. Transphobic and racist conservatives have long perpetuated false stereotypes about her physical appearance to push invasive tactics like “sex testing” — all to curtail her ability to compete.

The issue has bounced around in courts for some time and Semenya is still aiming to succeed via an appeal. In a May ruling, the two-time Olympic gold medalist lost her initial appeal in the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) after the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) announced new rules last year that required women athletes with high levels of testosterone to reduce their levels. The court argued that “such discrimination is necessary” to maintain “the integrity of female athletics.” Semenya has maintained that her testosterone levels are naturally occurring.

Last month, Switzerland’s Federal Supreme Court suspended the rule, which paved the way for Semenya to compete while under appeal without having to alter her testosterone levels. The July 30 ruling reverses the Supreme Court’s decision.

“I am very disappointed to be kept from defending my hard-earned title, but this will not deter me from continuing my fight for the human rights of all of the female athletes concerned,” Semenya, 28, said in a written statement.

Her attorney vowed to continue fighting. “The judge’s procedural decision has no impact on the appeal itself,” Schramm said. “We will continue to pursue Caster’s appeal and fight for her fundamental human rights. A race is always decided at the finish line.”

Semenya is known for her talent in the 800-meter competition — she won it during the 2012 and 2016 Olympics — and many suspect the IAFF specifically created testosterone requirements for that competition because of her.

“I know that the IAAF’s regulations have always targeted me specifical­ly,” she said in May. “For a decade the IAAF has tried to slow me down, but this has actually made me stronger. The decision of the CAS will not hold me back.”

Updated 5:03 pm, August 14, 2019
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Reader feedback

June from Morris Park says:
Keep fighting the good fight Caster!
Aug. 6, 1:56 pm
Jeff Schwager says:
This man isn't good enough to compete against other men, so he is competing against women. Note that even IF he takes testosterone reducing medicines that he still has the unfair advantage of having a man's bone structure. Men's hips are narrower and deeper and more efficient for running. Men are taller and their bones are stronger, etc. It's silly to think men and women are the same, and that all a man has to do is declare himself a woman so he can compete against them. No matter how much a person wishes they were a woman, that doesn't make them one. Like it or not, the reality is that your gender and biology ARE connected. Those who deny that are simply deceiving themselves. Those who try to change themselves into what they believe themselves to be often times have remorse -- especially after they discover that it doesn't bring them any more happiness and complicates their life with a whole set of new issues. People still aren't going to treat them the same because they're mentally not right. Tragically, they can't undo their mistake once they go under the knife. Make the most of yourself and quit trying to live a lie. You simply have to learn to accept and love the person God made you to be.
Aug. 9, 8:30 am

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