South African athletics boss quits over Semenya gender bender probe


AP Photo: Anja Niedringhaus

Caster Semenya has been in the news quite often over the last week since the IAAF has requested a "gender verification test." Semenya shattered the current 800m Womens race at the World Athletics Championships by almost a full second and since then has been under constant scrutiny to determine whether she is a man, a woman or something in between.

Several ChicagoNow bloggers like Anna Pulley of Sex and the Windy City and Dennis Byrne over at Dennis Byrne's Barbershop have added to the conversation.  Anna thinks that because Caster is so good, they're calling her sex into question while Dennis Byrne boils it all down to race.

But now, with all of the questioning that has gone on over whether Caster is the person that she claims to be, Leonard Chuene, president of Athletics South Africa, has said that he will withdraw from the IAAF Board "for as long as it takes to fight this dreadful case against our young runner"

I find it all amazing that just because someone "appears" to be masculine their sexuality is automatically called into question.  Just because she's tomboyish does not automatically make her a man?

I wonder what the officials will do if the tests come back and they find out that Caster is in fact physically a woman but does contain a Y chromosome and isn't the owner of a penis?  Will everyone say "Oh I'm sorry" and just hope that it gets brushed under the will be interesting to see what happens as this story progresses.

It's now being reported that Semenya had 3x the normal female level of testosterone in her system.  Believe it or not, women do naturally have testosterone in their bodies, and a normal level is between 20-100 nanograms per decileter with 30-80 being typical.  Whereas a "typical" woman with little muscle mass or body hair may have a count of 20, a woman with more muscle mass and hair may have a count as high as 100.  Men on the other hand have a range of between 300-1100.  So if she had the maximum considered for a female then she could have as much as 300ng/dl......

Also interesting in the same article a former East German female athlete accuses the current South African coach, Dr. Ekkart Arbeit of giving her so many steroids that she was forced to have a sex change in 1997 and live the remainder of her life as a man.

Could you just imagine be forced into a sex change because you abused steroids?



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  • Because of the many gender (and intersex) possibilities, it behooves the sports world to establish clear guidelines as to what is acceptible to qualify for "male" and "female" designated categories.

    They need to have specific rules about hermaphrodites, and all the various variations of XY chromosomes. They need to be objective, not allowing any one person to decide where to put anyone, but the genetic/physical evidence. Including the possibilities of post-op gender reassignment sporting persons.

  • In reply to TomFields:

    @gr8hands - you are correct. If the field of possibilities is SO WIDE then it has to be objective and a standard set across the board instead of someone saying "Well, she LOOKS like a man"

  • In reply to TomFields:

    i know i wouldn't ask him...i mean her out.

  • In reply to TomFields:

    Great post.Homosexuality continues to make headlines on a daily basis.And almost of the homos in earth are emerging their participation in sports specially the lesbians.Last month

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