I am totally disgusted at the way the media – namely the Australian media – handled South Africa’s world record holder Caster Semenya’s gender/sex test results.
I know it has made international news but let me just provide a bit of context for the purpose of this blog entry. 18-year-old Semenya won the ladies 800m race at the 2009 World Championships in Athletics. After making her country proud with that gold medal, questions were raised about her gender. Apparently, the way she left the other women behind in the race wasn’t “normal” for a female. The International Association of Athletics Federations forced Semenya to take a test to see if she was really a girl. It was said that the results would only be made known in November.
And then… surprise surprise… Australia’s Sydney Daily Telegraph newspaper had a tip-off and reported that Semenya has no ovaries, no womb and that she has three times more testosterone than the average female. They also reported that she has internal testes, making her an hermaphrodite. Semenya and her family had to find out about this through the media. Something so extremely personal was first made known to the world before her.
Now, how can anyone be so heartless to do something like this to a vulnerable 18-year-old? Apparently she has since gone into hiding and has pulled out of a national cross country race which was supposed to be tomorrow (Saturday). Can you blame her?
Are journalists and media houses THAT greedy for a “great scoop” that they would stoop SO damn low?! I am beyond disgusted. The Australian media have gone too far. They instigated this whole matter from the beginning. I can tell you that had it been an American or European who had won that 800m race nobody would have questioned it. “Backward” Africa can never have talent like that.
Local You magazine decided to give Semenya a makeover to prove to everyone that she really is a girl. But I was horrified!! They gave her DREADFUL clothes that made her look like a drag queen! Who wears such shiny pants?? Those shoes were awful! The magazine’s stylists either have pathetic taste or they were spiteful. But I would never let them dress me or even ask them for fashion tips!
In the past three years there had been four athletes out of eight who had been tested for sex verification and have since retired. They had been granted the privacy that Semenya should have been granted as well.
This girl (or guy. Whichever way she decides to go now) is scarred for life. The media scarred her for life. She will never live a normal life now. It will be so difficult for her to find a boy/girlfriend. What about friends? Her athletics career is probably over. Her dignity was stolen from her. Her privacy invaded. I feel so sad for her that I don’t even know what to say anymore. Seriously.