Friday, September 11, 2009

Caster Semenya ‘is a hermaphrodite’.

A gender test on the record-breaking South African teenage sprinter Caster Semenya has revealed that she is a hermaphrodite. Tests show that she has a chromosomal abnormality that gives her both male and female characteristics. It is reported that this revelation threatens to end her track career just weeks after her runaway 800 metres triumph in last month's World Championships in Berlin.

Would she be permitted by the Church of England, the Roman Catholic Church, or any fundamentalist Christian group, to marry a man in a church, using their traditional liturgies for heterosexual marriage?

Yes. For all of them, she is a woman.

Would she permitted to marry a man in a mosque in accordance with the teachings and traditions of Islam?

Yes. She would be recognised by Islamic scholars and doctors the world over as a woman.

Would she be defined in accordance with the laws and customs of each of the world’s nations as a woman?

Yes. From her birth certificate, her marriage certificate, every contract of employment and on the certificate of her death, she would be identified as being a woman.

Yet the International Association of Athletics Federations no longer recognises her as being female.

And she is certainly not male.

Like the mystery defined at Chalcedon, Caster Semenya is neither fully man nor fully woman. She is not quite ‘in two natures, without confusion’, but she is ‘without division, without separation’. And her humanity is ‘in no way annulled by the union, but rather the characteristics of each nature being preserved and coming together to form one person and subsistence, not as parted or separated into two persons, but one and the same’ woman.

But the IAAF is about to decide whether to strip the teenager of the gold medal she won in Berlin. While this looks unlikely (though then open to legal challenge), she certainly looks certain to be disqualified from competing in future women's races.

Is it not interesting that the aggressive anti-discrimination policies of the UN and the oppressive anti-discrimination directives of the EU – both of which are challenging millennia of religious orthodoxy and centuries of religious liberty – have no application at all in the field of international sports?

Why should distinguishing between genitalia and discrimination on the grounds of chromosomal impulses be denied the State and the Church, but granted to the IAAF?


Blogger Gnostic said...

Your Grace, it is my understanding that Caster possesses internal testes but no female reproductive organs. This would explain her masculine appearance. It would also give her unfair advantage over her fellow female athletes because testosterone builds muscle in a way no female body could. At the same time it would disadvantage her if she were to compete with male athletes. Talk about being caught between a rock and a hard place.

Perhaps the advantage could be solved either chemically or surgically so that Caster can continue her career in athletics. It seems such a shame to deny her talent because of a biological mistake. I think the IAAF owe it her to try after they "outed" her in such an unforgivable and outrageous way.

11 September 2009 at 12:08  
Blogger Archbishop Cranmer said...

Mr Gnostic,

All women possess testosterone, and all men oestrogen, in varying quantities and to varying extents. The quantity of either has never been an issue in the sporting field when produced naturally.

Yet the balance of these hormones, as you rightly note, has a role in determining sporting prowess.

Would Ms Semenya be denied a place at one of New Labour's sport-specialising academies, on the basis that she had an unfair advantage over other girls?

If not, why should she be denied her vocation?

She is as the Lord knitted her together in the womb. She is neither male nor female, and yet a product of nature.

11 September 2009 at 12:30  
Blogger Carl Gardner, Head of Legal said...

I think this is very different from employment and so on. The issue is not discrimination against her - it's fairness to everyone else. Once you start saying male physical characteristics shouldn't prevent your taking part in women's sport, where do you draw a line? The logical end of that approach is the complete destruction of much women's sport. I doubt even Birgit Prinz would make it into a unisex German football team. To prevent discrimination against women (by allowing them to compete in sports on a level playing field, as men do) requires you to actively discriminate in their favour as regards participation in women's sport.

The bigger picture - making sure women's sport continues and is fair to the 99.999% of athletes who have no gender issues - is much more important than one person's chance to get medals. That's why, even though I'm supportive of transsexuals socially (are religions? I bet you couldn't be a female-to-male transsexual bishop), I don't think I could support a simple policy of allowing all male-to-female transsexuals to compete in women's sports on equal terms. It seems potentially unfair to me. The physically competitive aspect makes all the difference.

11 September 2009 at 14:33  
Blogger Marie1797 said...

I agree with Mrs Gnostic.

She would have to be unravelled and knitted up again into one or t’other. I wonder if she has been fed hormonal drugs from a very young age like the young girls in East Germany and parts of Russia were a while ago? Those who showed sporting promise were taken away from their homes to a training camp and fed testosterone and other hormonal drugs to compete. It ruined their health.

Also it seems fashionable now to change one’s gender so why not have specialist games for the transsexuals?

11 September 2009 at 15:09  
Blogger Gnostic said...

Your Grace, being of the female persuasion myself and having a modicum of scientific knowledge, I understand about the hormonal differentials in people. The women in my family, including myself, are not girly-girl types (tomboys all) and have many interests usually associated with the male of the breed indicating that we have more testosterone than average in our genetic make-up. None of us are classic beauties and none of us would ever be caught sitting around painting our nails while discussing fashion, boyfriends, cosmetics or which celebrity is screwing whom.

However, I can assure you than none of us have any testes. And that, I believe, is the crux of the unfortunate Caster's problem.

11 September 2009 at 15:50  
Anonymous Croc dundee said...

She would pass the Crocodile Dundee test.
Nothing hanging down below for him to grab.
I was open minded about whether she was a woman. Until she spoke. Errkk she sounded like Mike Tyson.

11 September 2009 at 16:59  
Anonymous Lurking Atheist said...

Professional Sport (and dare I say it, Organised Religion) are artificial constructs held together by various arbitrary rules, regulations and conventions. As the head of various Athletics tournaments, the IAAF gets to decide that the race is 800m, not 750m, or half a mile for that matter. They get to say you can train at altitude, but you can't do blood doping. This 'vitamin supplement' is OK but that 'drug' isn't.

I don't think they are saying Semenya isn't a woman, certainly within a social context, just that her particular genetic abnormality falls foul of their self imposed boundaries. And I say that in the knowledge that all professional sports men and women are in the long tail of genetic freakery. Whether any religion, or other artificial construct uses the same boundaries or not isn't really relevant.

If you don't like it, start your own organisation - as the Pope may have said to Henry VIII...

11 September 2009 at 17:22  
Blogger John Woolman said...

Wouldn't it be fair to wait on the official report before commenting on this unfortunate person's gender?

11 September 2009 at 17:50  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If she has no ovaries and no womb but does have internal testes, then s/he isn't an hemaphrodite.

No matter what gender s/he chooses if s/he has XY chromosomes she is, according to the IAAF a male.

Womens sport is limited to those with XX chromosomes (perhaps XXX and Xo as well but not XXY)

Thems the rules and the idea that people can define themselves and compete in a female only sport is absurd.

Perhaps we shouldn't have women only sports, all sports should be open to all.

So have an 800m race, not split by gender into two races. Same for all events. Then this his/her gender wouldn't be an issue.

11 September 2009 at 19:05  
Blogger True Belle said...

Poor creature, I hope s/he beats everyone and sets a new athletic standard. Does it actually matter anyway?

11 September 2009 at 19:16  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

@True Belle
It matters because s/he has an unfair advantage over shes.

Female only races exist because they wouldn't get anywhere competing against males.

This isn't sexist, just a simple statement of facts and why female only sports exist.

There is a lot of money in sports today, that's why there are rules about what is allowed in terms of boosting performance and why the IAAF has rules about who is allowed to compete in female only events.

Remember the Eastern bloc countries and their faux-females winning all the medals; then testing came in and they all retired. Some of the records they set still haven't been bested.

Was that fair or just?

11 September 2009 at 19:24  
Blogger Perpetua said...

Where did you get you information to refer in the affirmative to this:

" Would she permitted to marry a man in a mosque in accordance with the teachings and traditions of Islam?

"Yes. She would be recognised by Islamic scholars and doctors the world over as a woman."

As I understand it, Islamic marriage may occur before the girl reaches puberty, but the consummation only occurs after. So, she could be married, however, since she lacks the internal female organs to begin menstruate, the marriage would never be (legally) consummated. So I am thinking that she would be recognized as a girl, but not as a woman.

11 September 2009 at 21:46  
Blogger Lord Lavendon said...

Give this lady a break. What has she done wrong exactly? It is not as if she had any control over her own sex ? Can't we just live and let live on this one ?

11 September 2009 at 22:29  
Blogger Perpetua said...

Lord Lavendon,

Your comment assumes this is a female. It seems like you are using a primitive male logic that everyone that doesn't have a penis is "not male" and therefore a female.

But as a woman, I think that the actual female organs matter. And as a woman, I don't think it is fair for a person with active testes to compete as a woman.

Maybe you should give the real ladies a break, the ones with female ovaries who are competing in sports.

11 September 2009 at 22:37  
Blogger Lord Lavendon said...

Perpetua , I did not mention the word penis I am not sure how you can accuse me of primitive male logic?

Also by your argument if a person had a penis, but had ovaries then said person , would, in your view be a women ? That is the logical conclusion of your view.

11 September 2009 at 23:42  
Blogger Rebel Saint said...

Under diversity legislation, shouldn't the IAAF be obliged to have a "neither male nor female" race.

Athletics has already proved to be completely institutionally racist ... just look at the 100m final line up every year. They really aren't meeting their quotas.

Wouldn't it be wonderful if government & industry were allowed to recruit and operate as pure meritocracies as sports are. Instead - another term of NuLabour and I'm convinced they'd be forced to the implement the (il)logical conclusions I made in my first 2 paragraphs.

12 September 2009 at 01:44  
Anonymous Nigel said...

Yes Croc Dundee that is a rather disconcerting custom you chaps have down under i.e. grabbing of
testicles greeting.We shake hands over here.Not as much fun.

12 September 2009 at 06:39  
Anonymous Bob said...

simple - the matters you talk about are legal/political ones around 'gender' - the social construct

Sport is based on the physical - ie. sex, it would be fundamentally unfair to allow a woman with testes and testosterone production to compete against regular women - there is already a line drawn so that women can compete without the male present, which is primarily down to testosterone, as you may notice in sport there is deliberate segregation - the complete opposite of every gender equality issue

so the equality argument is null here and yes it is right to disqualify her

though this case is sad and should not be world news, nor should we believe an unconfirmed leak

12 September 2009 at 14:39  
Anonymous Atlas shrugged said...


You make a very important point, which it seems many have missed.

Why is the IAAF allowed to sexually discriminate in this way. When the same thing is either illegal or seen as immoral everywhere else in the western world?

This is strange, because the same people who run the worlds political agendas, such as feminism, are also the same people who control all internationalist establishments very much including all of the sporting ones.

Could are ruling elites be giving the common people a different set rules and conditions then they are their rather less manly endowed stadium gladiators?

We all know what post war Communist countries used to get up to. We also know what the ruling class used to do to little boys to get them to continue to sing at a high octave.

The ruling class have been drugging this, or chopping that for thousands of years often for no better reason then the gaining of better bragging rights, or a improved sing-song.

Just imagine what they might be capable of, when the chips are really down. I present two world wars as evidence.

They are still playing god, mainly because many of them still believe they are begotten by the gods.

They are utterly determined to improve on our design. So much so they would rather kill us all, then ultimately fail.

13 September 2009 at 01:45  
Anonymous J said...

Chalcedon: FULLY man and FULLY God. That's vital.

Small sounding error in the fundamentals leads to massive errors in the praxis.

14 September 2009 at 00:54  
Anonymous sydneysider said...

Nigel,Aussie blokes don't waste time with preliminaries and like to be certain of the gender they're
dealing with so if you deck yourself out like a sheila you've got to expect a grope.Sounds like it's your sort of thing.

15 September 2009 at 02:02  

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