Caster Semenya- Gender Verification

Caster Semenya, an 18 year old track athlete from South Africa won gold at the 2009 world championships. She beat her old record by 2 seconds and finished a full 2.45 seconds in front of the second place athlete. To beat someone by that margin in a 800 metre race is unheard of. On that same day gender verification tests were requested by the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF). Media reports stated that the IAAF requested the tests because of Semenya’s ‘‘deep voice, muscular build and rapid improvement in times.’’

The controversy now sits with if individuals that have nonnormatively sexed/gendered bodies to participate in international sporting competition. In my opinion I believe that this controversy is absurd. It is not the individuals fault that he or she has that body type, it comes from genetics and how their parents look. For the IAAF to suggest gender verification tests are terrible because they are stereotyping the individual based on their looks. What would happen if one individual believes that the athlete is what gender they claim to be but another individual does not? How can the IAAF determine which athlete is to take the verification test?

If you were the policy maker for the IAAF, what would you do besides gender verification testing that does not exploit female athletes?

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