The Caster Semenya Case: Bad Call by the IAAF

Victor Omo - AgegeContributor ISeptember 13, 2009

World 800-meter champion Caster Semenya of South Africa has male and female sexual organs.   The information was reported by the Sydney Morning Herald last week . Since then she has become the punch line for jokes on a lot  of American spots talk radio. The South African government and a lot of South  Africans have categorized the leaking of such sensitive medical information insensitive and inhumane.

 While watching women's  sports such as track and field ,the WNBA , and women's soccer there have been many instances, thoughts have crossed my mind on the gender of some of the participants .Actually to be truthful ,  I have also had even corresponding thoughts of their sexuality.

    The truth is, we are products  of cultural conditioning based on our experiences and society. We form pictures of what is feminine or masculine based on our conditioning .There is nothing wrong in the formation of these notions but we must be careful to understand they are not conclusive . Gender determination must be left to medical experts and dealt with like any other medical conditions ensuring  due privacy .

            In respect to the Caster Semenya case, the  IAAF should have shown better judgment in the handling of such  a sensitive issue .I remember as a kid poking fun at disabled kids  and my mum gave me a lesson I never forget .The gist of the lesson was not to  poke fun  at disabled  kids. No one  has a crystal ball ,we could suffer an accident and  be disabled  tomorrow.

  I have seen it happen frequently , people making fun of fat people and end up obese. Folks making fun of drug addicts and their kids end up being addicts .The point is, whatever  medical condition the Australian paper are attributing to Caster Semenya could have  happened to any one of us or our kids and we should grant her compassion and privacy as we would desire .

  Hindsight  is 20/20 and I believe the IAAF can learn from this case .Uniform gender test should be performed before the race to all participants .Singling out a participant because of our perceptions of what is  feminine  is not the right yard stick .If you are going to test one participant,justice demands we test all particpants .

 There are a lot of female WNBA and track and field  athletes  who look masculine and you don't need me to drop any names. These athletes have not been subjected to gender tests and neither have they had their private medical records released to the entire world .

The bottom line is telling the whole world an eighteen year old lady has both male and female organs could have been handled better by the IAAF.  The IAAF made a bad call by leaking out test results and not respecting Caster Semenyas Privacy .