The International Association of Athletic Federations (IAAF) has shockingly suggested that Olympian Caster Semenya, a highly successful Women’s Long Distance Runner should participate in men’s events if she does not want to take drugs to reduce her testosterone level. This comes days after the Court of Arbitration ruled in favour of (IAAF) that female athletes such as Semenya, who are intersex must take testosterone suppressants like the contraceptive pill to stay under the required level to continue competing as a woman in any running event between the 400m and the 800 mile.
This ruling is confusing to say the least, as someone born as a woman with a little extra testosterone cannot compete with other women, but men who are surgically transformed into women can, this seems imbalanced. The IAAF’s policy is a horrific violation of female athletes everywhere; no woman should have to undergo medically unnecessary intervention in order to compete in women’s sport. Sex testing began with the intent of trying to catch men masquerading as women to try to win medals, though no man has ever been caught doing so. Instead, it is intersex women who are often thrown out of sports as a result of these tests.
The IAAF adds that female athletes with high testosterone levels that participate in the 400m hurdles, 800m and 1500m would be welcome to compete with male athletes if they’re not comfortable taking medicine to lower their testosterone levels. “In any case, it is the athlete’s right to decide (in consultation with their medical team) whether or not to proceed with any assessment and/or treatment. If she (Semenya) decides not to do so, she will not be entitled to compete in the female classification of any Restricted Event at an International Competition. However, she would still be entitled to compete in the male classification at any competition at any level, in any discipline, without restriction; in any ‘intersex’ (or similar) classification that the event organiser may offer at any competition at any level, in any discipline, without restriction. According to the IAAF, if Semenya opts not to take medicine to lower her testosterone levels, the only way for her to compete in the female classification.