Posts tagged South Africa

Things about gender… and my anger

There’s a recent news story regarding the South African female runner who is being questioned about her sex due to the fact that she, well… looks like a boy.  And runs fast.

No, really.

It’s like being on the playground as a having someone call a little 4 year old girl a boy because she has short hair and likes to play with trucks.

NBC sports reports (emphasis mine):

Semenya dominated her rivals to win the 800 on Wednesday despite revelations that surfaced earlier in the day that she was undergoing a gender test. Her dramatic improvement in the 800 and 1,500, muscular build and deep voice sparked speculation about her gender.

“She was always rough and played with the boys. She liked soccer and she wore pants to school. She never wore a dress. It was only in Grade 11 that I realized she’s a girl,” Eric Modiba, head of the Nthema Secondary School, told the Beeld newspaper.

No.  No, really.

Seriously?!?

I get that there are a tiny number of incidents in sports where a male will pretend to be female in order to gain advantage.  I know it has happened.  But this is fucking ridiculous.

On top of the fact that this is an allegation based completely on rumors, therein lays a larger problem with this whole mess in that  you cannot. test. for. gender.

YOU CANNOT TEST FOR GENDER.

Gender is a societal construct. Yes, I’m aware that makes me sound like a complete flaming liberal (I have no idea why), but you cannot biologically test a person for gender.  No matter how many swabs you collect or doctors you see, you cannot test for gender.

Even Miriam Webster agrees with me, as it defines gender as:
b : the behavioral, cultural, or psychological traits typically associated with one sex

You cannot test for that.  YOU CANNOT TEST FOR GENDER.

So if you’re going to be ridiculous about this and put this person through international scrutiny… at least get the fucking term right. You are not. testing. for. gender.  Have I repeated myself enough yet?!

You are testing for her biological sex.

Which leads me to the fact that the topic of intersex athletes requires a whole separate rant which I do not have the energy for.

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