Thursday, September 17, 2009

Aspiring to Thumperness

If you don't know, Caster Semenya is a South African woman who set (shattered) the world record for the Women's 800 Meters with a time of 1:55.45 (she starts pulling away from the pack at about 1:35). What made the news was not that my girl ran half a mile in less than 2 minutes, though...what made the news was that she did it while kind of looking like a man.

A whirlwind of controversy and a battery of gender identification tests ensued. The results of said tests show that Semenya is Intersex, or DSD (Disorder of Sexual Development), which means she has both male and female sex characteristics.

Yes, there are things to consider when women with male sex characteristics (increased muscle mass and lung capacity, for example) compete against women without them, but is it really something that needs to be dragged out through the media like this? I mean, she's a kid, for Pete's sake. Do we really need to call her a hermaphrodite (which is an outdated term many intersex people find offensive) or accuse her of being a man trying to cheat? I'll admit, I even threw in an ignorant-ass comment about her being a dude to some friends of mine. And man, I really feel like an asshole about it.

It just goes to show it's best to just keep yer trap shut until all the facts are in.
We should all aspire to Thumperness, folks.

I wish all the best to this young woman, both in her athletic career and her personal life. She's an incredibly brave young person (not to mention FAST AS HELL), and I hope she can become someone the Intersex community (and the black community, the female athlete community, the rockin' cornrows community, etc.) can look up to. I'm also totally interested to see what all this brings up with the Winter Olympics coming up here in BC.

The Daily Beast had this interesting article today, which inspired me to post. And Middlesex, by Jeffrey Eugenides, is a fantastic novel. BTW.

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