Gender-bender laws cause outrage

South Africa's Caster Semenya (C) competes in the athletics women's 800m final during the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games at the Carrara Stadium on the Gold Coast on April 13, 2018.
South Africa's Caster Semenya (C) competes in the athletics women's 800m final during the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games at the Carrara Stadium on the Gold Coast on April 13, 2018.
Image: Adrian DENNIS / AFP

The International Association of Athletics Federation's (IAAF) new regulations for females with differences of sexual development has been met with condemnation and disappointment by the country's sports science and gender experts.

Experts said the regulations governing testosterone levels among female athletes will definitely affect athletes like the popular and record-breaking Caster Semenya.

The new laws say that athletes like Semenya, competing over the 400m, 800m and 1500m middle distances, are required to bring their testosterone levels below 5 nanomoles per litre and keep it constantly there before the rules kick-in in November.

"This is blatant discrimination," said Reverend Dr Tebo Moema, the host of I was in The Closet on GauTV.

"We can't sugarcoat it at all.

"Back in 1983, if we remember, we had a white woman who was in the same position as Semenya, competing in the 800m and was white and masculine."

Moema said the white woman didn't have to undergo testosterone tests. He asked: "Is it because she was white and straight and our Caster happens to be both black and LGBTI (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual Transgender and Intersex)? Is this institutionalised subtle racism?"

He said the sports body must critically apply their minds before instituting the rule.

"I am calling all lovers of peace and human rights groups to lobby against this evil law. Let's say 'no' to all forms of discrimination and 'yes' to love."

Moema said it was time to rise to an expanded consciousness and collapse the labelled boxes that seek to divide the human race in order to heal the world with love and unity.

Medical practitioner Dr Thabo Seseane said: "It is a given. Higher testosterone levels cause mindset and body configurations such as aggressiveness, competitiveness and greater muscle bulk which includes wider shoulders."

Seseane said these have been found to be advantageous in certain categories of track events, such as the 400m and 800m, Semenya 's races.

"Forcing her and other such female athletes to take testosterone-suppressing drugs ... will definitely impair performance. But then it will, in a way, level the playing field."

Seseane wonders if the rules would have been made if Semenya was not winning so much.

The medico said: "All competitors under the IAAF are under contract to provide blood and other bodily secretions for testing. This will be just an additional one."

Semenya's coach Samuel Sepeng said they "can't comment at this stage".

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