Ariel Levy's article on Caster Semenya was outstanding. If
you're not a track and field geek like myself, let me briefly get you
up to speed. Semenya, a runner from South Africa, ran a half mile in 1:56. (My best time was a 2:34,
which sucks.) Her rapid improvement and her male-like appearance caused
officials to test her.
Caster doesn't have a uterus or ovaries and has
some boy bits, which means that she has three times the level of
testosterone as the average woman.
Levy describes the latest research on Hermaphrodites. I still remember my old buddy, Pamela, calling me from medical school to tell me that she just learned that Jamie Lee Curtis was a hermaphrodite.
As a former female runner, I feel strongly that Caster
should not run with the women; the man hormones give her too much of an
edge. But she really can't run with the men either. Caster's case might force us to rethink gender dualities not just in sports.
The most tragic
thing about this story is the personal toll on Caster, who never
understood the grey area of her gender.