Intersex, is it such a big deal?

Germany Athletics Worlds Semenya Gender Test

So it’s official, Caster Semenya’s gender test is in…she is indeed intersex. But is anyone else as deeply offended by the invasion of Semenya’s privacy? No one cared about her gender until she won the 800m women’s finals at the World Athletics’ Championship. Then the media decided to ask about her deep voice and masculine appearance. Previous tests had shown that she had higher testosterone levels, but I’ve dated a girl that produced way too much testosterone and no one cared about her- she jut had facial hair. Semenya is an athlete, not a model. She is not expected to look feminine. (I for one like women with deep voices). But thanks to the media, now Semenya’s world is turned upside down. All her life she had thought of herself as a woman, she was raised as a girl. Would your mind not be completely blown away by this new information? Mine would, and I am pretty sure I would question my entire life too.

Intersex is a very difficult concept to understand. According to the tests that were most likely done without Semenya’s consent, she has internal testes and no womb or ovaries. But what exactly does this mean? According to, intersex means, “a group of conditions where there is a discrepancy between the external genitals and the internal genitals (the testes and ovaries).” There are many causes for the intersex condition, but many cases have unknown reasons. At birth, the child is assigned a gender and is treated as such unconditionally. Some children have surgery to construct a gender by removing some tissues. In Semenya’s case, it seems she was just determined to be a girl, and treated as such. She would not have known otherwise if she had not been tested. I do not know if choosing a gender is the correct way to deal with intersex children because it appears to cause major problems when the truth is discovered. But in such a gender-roled society, it seems to be the easiest solution.

While the media waited to hear about Semenya’s test results, You Magazine decided to give her a makeover to make her look more feminine.


Obviously her masculine appearance was causing suspicion so put her in make up and put her in a dress—that solves everything. With captions such as “Wow Look at Caster Now” her transformation from an ugly duckling into a swan is abused by the media—and it sickens me.

It is not like Semenya is the first to fail the sports’ gender test—in 2006 Santhi Soundarajan did too. Her world was also turned upside down—she reported to have said she was totally broken mentally and physically. But her advice to Semenya is the best anyone could offer—you are a girl Semenya and the gender test cannot change who you are.