September 10, 2009

Source: Caster Semenya is a Hermaphrodite: Sex tests carried out on champion South African sprinter Caster Semenya show that she is a hermaphrodite with internal testes and no womb or ovaries, an unnamed source told The Times newspaper of London. One source who did go on the record, IAAF General Secretary Pierre Weiss, said, "It is clear that she is a woman but maybe not 100 percent." As many as 1 in 1,500 births is a person with "atypical genitalia" requiring a medical expert in sex differentiation, according to the Intersex Society of North America.

posted by rcade to olympics at 06:31 PM - 19 comments

This just gets more and more bizarre.

posted by mr_crash_davis at 11:19 PM on September 10, 2009

Not really, crash. As the links show, intersex people are reltively common, just that most have some kind of reassignment done before they reach puberty/adulthood. In poorer countries (and I'm assuming Caster Semenya grew up in a poor part of South Africa), access to surgical services can be limited.

If you want to find out more about the great work that voluntary plastic surgeons do for the poor in developing countries - everything from cleft palates to 'repairing' genitalia - check out the efforts of Interplast.

posted by owlhouse at 12:23 AM on September 11, 2009

This just gets more and more, and still more, bizarre. (I meant posting at the same time as owlhouse, of course.)

posted by mjkredliner at 12:23 AM on September 11, 2009

There's nothing bizarre about it. Complicated to resolve in the context of her sporting career, certainly, but it's not that unusual.

posted by JJ at 05:52 AM on September 11, 2009

The question in my mind is: did she or did she not know? And if not, what a horrible way to find out...

posted by MW12 at 07:12 AM on September 11, 2009

Wasn't Jamie Lee Curtis born that way as well?

posted by BornIcon at 09:47 AM on September 11, 2009

I would be willing to bet she did not know. Something i was reading earlier said their were some pretty serious health risks later in life it this is not surgically corrected

posted by Debo270 at 09:51 AM on September 11, 2009

I found this statement ironic:

The great majority of pulmonate and opisthobranch snails and slugs are hermaphrodites

Caster doesn't appear to have anything in common with snails and slugs in the speed department.

posted by THX-1138 at 10:28 AM on September 11, 2009

Wasn't Jamie Lee Curtis born that way as well?

I always thought that as well. Seems like an urban legend. Next you're going to tell me John Denver was not a Marine Sniper in Vietnam.

posted by yerfatma at 12:02 PM on September 11, 2009

Next you're going to tell me John Denver was not a Marine Sniper in Vietnam.

Wait a sec! Are you saying that he wasn't a Marine Sniper in Vietnam? So Rocky Mountain High wasn't about Pvt. Denver being posted up high above the terrain, looking to take out Charlie? You jest?

posted by BornIcon at 12:11 PM on September 11, 2009

And the South African Minister for Sports has threatened a "third world war" if IAAF bar Semenya from competing as a female. Over the top hyperbole: sport/not sport?

posted by billsaysthis at 03:04 PM on September 11, 2009

I read about three lines into that article, bill, and couldn't go any further. Good luck with the 3rd World War thing, South Africa.

posted by THX-1138 at 04:07 PM on September 11, 2009

somehow I don't think the high Denver was on was the rocky mountain air..or agent orange...maybe he was a sniper but I never met any sinpers who were pvts...

posted by wildbill1 at 04:16 PM on September 11, 2009

with my tongue planted firmly in my cheek I have to ask..would she/he be considered a hermo?

posted by wildbill1 at 04:18 PM on September 11, 2009

and hear I took the third world war comment to apply that third world countries were going to go to war over this issue

posted by Demophon at 04:37 PM on September 11, 2009

Yet again, the operations of the IAAF have leaked like a colander, this time to the Australian tabloid (and Murdoch-owned) press. That's pretty damning, and you can understand the anger (albeit politically-driven) at the perception that confidentiality and sensitivity go by the wayside for a black African athlete if the western press is calling.

posted by etagloh at 09:09 AM on September 12, 2009

Hey, if South Africa can crack the bio locks on that alien arsenal they'd wipe the floor with the rest of us!

posted by billsaysthis at 01:08 PM on September 12, 2009

Semenya is said to have gone into hiding and is recieving counselling after the trauma of the leaked results/rumours.

posted by rumple at 07:16 PM on September 13, 2009

I have not read the answer to this question -- does having 3 times the "normal" level of testosterone give her an advantage?

posted by Monica Poland at 01:38 AM on September 14, 2009

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