Eighteen-year-old champion runner Caster Semenya has been teased by her peers all her life for looking "like a boy." After the South African won the gold medal at the World Championships this week, surpassing her nearest rival by an astonishing 2.45 seconds, some of her fellow competitors began accusing her of being a man. Now, she faces questions over her biological sex, not from schoolyard bullies but from the International Association of Athletic Federations (IAAF), who wants her to undergo a series of tests to prove she is a woman.
Caster's mother denies the allegations saying "I gave birth to that girl from my womb" and other black South Africans point to the accusations as an example of insensitive and demeaning attitudes of black African women held by Westerners.
As for the IAAF, the officials say they do not doubt that Caster was raised a female all her life, they just hope the complex tests will determine whether she was given an unfair medical advantage. Sadly, these tests, which look for the presence of two X chromosomes, are potentially inaccurate and discriminatory against women with sex chromosomal disorders. (Some women can have XXY, XXXY or any number of variations of X or Y chromosomes.)
Regardless of whether Caster passes the test, do you think a woman who might have a Y chromosome, but the physiology of a woman, should be able to compete against other women?