Switzerland’s Supreme Court has dismissed Caster Semenya’s appeal against the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS). The ruling would require Semenya run at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics under the condition that she undergo testosterone decreasing hormone therapy. Semenya has persistently maintained that she will not comply to any surgical or hormonal conditions. News of the final ruling has South African social media up in arms as many continue to support Semenya’s drive to keep fighting.
Limpopo-born and a double gold Olympic medalist, Semenya has always had to fight the policing of her body since her talent was discovered as a child. At one point she walked naked into a change room to prove her “sex“. Semenya’s humiliation continued as she continued to break local and international track records. IAAF and other races would order a surprise body search to ensure that she was indeed female.
Chills my people,A man can change the rules but the very same man can not rule my life,What I’m saying is that I mi… https://t.co/ox1vlHmGIZ
— Caster Semenya (@Caster Semenya)1599596489.0
Olympic history has shown some female athletes have been found to have higher testosterone levels than most typical female athletes but Semenya’s decade long onslaught with IAAF seems to be targeted because of she is Black and breaking former records formerly held by white athletes. This latest ruling carves a caveat into the discourse of social gender constructs, biological sex markers and how the they are more complicated than hormonal tests or physical expressions.
“Semenya’s blackness & deviance from cisheteronormativity are seen as a threat to be policed…Yet these same abili… https://t.co/zWIvSD1ya9
— Paula Akpan (@Paula Akpan)1599648731.0
What’s happening to Caster Semenya is so disgustingly unfair. She’s literally being punished for the way her body n… https://t.co/grEiEkX5KC
— Ann Marie Lastrassi stan (@Ann Marie Lastrassi stan)1599641845.0
Caster Semenya isn’t trans.
But every trans/non-binary person shares many struggles with her.
She is at the inter… https://t.co/g9QUl0DQX8
— What The Trans!? (@What The Trans!?)1599649265.0
South African media personality Somizi supported Semenya and through an Instagram post stated that the recent ruling is indicative of white privilege.
A follower of Somizi questioned the viability of the rules and stated that they were confounding because trans female athletes are allowed to race under condition of reducing testosterone levels. The fact that Caster, who is not trans, is coupled under this rule is arbitrary.
The ruling was officially announced on Tuesday and follows years of battles for Semenya. The 71 page document officially bars Semenya from defending titles won 30 times straight for 800m track over the past four years since 2015. Semenya can make an appeal to the international human rights court but it is unlikely that the Swiss Federation will overturn its final ruling.