Photo: Caster Semenya (Instagram)
Mokgadi Caster Semenya gained international stardom after the 2009 Olympic games were she burned the records with her time of 1:55.45 in the 800-m sprint. Since the notorious win for the athletic-queen she has been shaded by comments of “over-masculinuty”.
Today social media took a stand with the hashtag #HandsOffCaster, as a way of warning those who treat Caster unfairly as a result of her masculinity. An article by American reporter Tim Layden (Senior Writer – Sports Illustrated) is the source of this outrage, with some making comments like: If Caitlin Jenner (formerly known as Bruce Jenner) can be referred to as a woman, then surely Caster, who genetically is a woman, can freely compete in the women’s race without being ridiculed and further victimised.
In 2009 the IAAF(International Association of Athletics Federations) did gender testing on Semenya and later cleared her as being eligible to compete as a woman. It is then again a blow in the faces of fellow South Africans that Semenya has to face criticism about her gender in the current Rio Olympics.
In the article Layden writes: “ Perhaps Olympic Sport should publish a third gender”, making a referral to the fact that when a male or female has more hormones from the other sex, but are genetically declared as being the opposite then, they are referred to as being ‘intersexual’.
South Africans, countrywide, are celebrating women’s month and it is sad to witness a South African woman being dragged and victimised at this time of the year where women are meant to be celebrated and elevated. As South Africans we say #HandsOffCaster