Sunday, July 11, 2010

Caster Semenya Receives (Some) Justice!

Caster Semenya has been approved to compete in South Africa!

All in all, though, this bandage doesn't justify that this shitty situation occurred. In the article linked to above (reblogged courtesy of OII's Intersex News), it states that Semenya received "an undisclosed 'financial settlement' for her ordeal." It's really problematic to take the stance of, "OH HEY! We're going to publicly announce information to the world that's none of their business and create and media frenzy and force you to submit to tests without consent unless you want your medal ripped away from you. BUT! We'll give you money at the end, and that'll make it alllllllll better. Human rights violations can be solved with the almighty green!" That's absolutely shameful.

One good thing is that the medical records are not going to be released. The discourse surrounding this, though, is similarly problematic. Check out this excerpt, from the article linked to above:

But nothing was stated flatly about Semenya — rumoured to be a hermaphrodite, meaning she has both male and female sexual organs (though the second set of genitalia could be internal) — being a female, full stop. Medical details will not be released.

“Why should they be out there?” Semenya’s lawyer, Greg Nott, told South African television last night. “Would you like your sex records to be made public?”

Ohhhhhhhhh. Right. It's okay if we shout to the world, "THIS PERSON MIGHT BE A FREAK!" and that's acceptable, but releasing her medical details would be going too far. It's not like they're BOTH unacceptable or anything. Ah, sweet justification!

In general, this article, written by DiManno for Toronto's The Star, has problems with it, too. DiManno apparently can't write about Semenya's stigmatizing and likely traumatizing experience without sticking a line in there about "...what may or may not be between her legs." Way to be reductionist. Intersex is only about external genitalia! We're really just walking genitals (that look fucked-up and weird and THAT'S BAD)! Ugh. And, "What she has clearly felt, all these long months, is embarrassment, as the most intimate details of her being were debated around..." etc. DiManno isn't actually in a position to state what Semenya has "clearly" felt, since this isn't a direct quote from Semenya herself. How can DiManno know what Semenya has actually experienced? She has not lived her experiences, and she therefore can't clearly know anything about this. All individuals - whether intersex or not - cannot know what Semenya has experienced. Only Semenya can, and to state otherwise with such confidence discredits Semenya's experience and does not allow her the agency to tell us how it REALLY is for her.

Other news states that due to all of the testing and detainment, Semenya's performance might be affected since she hasn't had proper time to train. Worse, the conjecture that hormone treatments could also affect her performance. (Which in reality, Semenya may or may not have "needed" to be able to compete in the next summer Games. This isn't something that can be assumed with confidence, either.)

Finally, I want to note that there was a plethora of articles and videos stimgatizing Semenya. Conversely, when Semenya was approved to compete in South Africa, it was comparatively reported in a whisper in relation the sonic boom of sources musing, "OMG IS SHE REALLY A DUDE OR A LADY OR WHAT?" before. Why has the media not latched onto this better news in the way that they were so quick to disseminate the violating news?


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