A Nation Stands By Caster Semenya While She Gets ‘Gender Verified’


Track star Caster Semenya stands accused of being a biological male, because she’s whooping the crap out of her lady competitors around the world. So she’s being tested by the International Association of Athletics Federations to see if she is really a he, which is exactly as invasive and uncomfortable as it sounds. Either way, South Africans are standing by her, whether Semenya is M or F, or somewhere in between.

Some 3,000 supporters welcomed the 800m champ home from Berlin; even President Jacob Zuma has her back. Mr. Zuma is an acquitted rapist, we might add. And South Africa, while better than, say, Uganda, is not exactly a beacon of gay tolerance at the state level. So it’s quite interesting to see the country get behind someone accused of being transgender. Then again, national athletic pride is a higher commodity than worrying about gender status.

But just because Semenya is getting love from home doesn’t leave her in the clear. Preliminary results, via an unauthorized leak, show Semenya has elevated testosterone levels, which doesn’t mean she’s a dude, but will raise questions about unfair competitive advantages.

And to make the scandal even more, uh, scandalous, there’s this:

Telegraph Sport can also reveal that the head coach of the South African team is Dr Ekkart Arbeit, the former East German coach who was accused by a female athlete of giving her so many anabolic steroids that she was forced to undergo a sex-change operation and live the rest of her life as a man.

Although it is unclear how closely Arbeit has been working with Semenya, news of his position will raise concerns with the International Association of Athletics Federations.

Uh. Seriously?