Caster Semenya Offered To Show Officials Her Vagina To Prove She's Female
Olympic champion Caster Semenya has revealed that she once offered to show sports officials her vagina in order to prove she’s female.
The 31-year-old middle-distance runner won a gold medal in the women’s 800-metre event back in 2009, marking a huge achievement for her professional career.
However, on the same day the sport’s governing body ordered her to undergo gender verification tests.
Despite being assigned female at birth, Semenya has a condition known as hyperandrogenism, which refers to higher than usual levels of male sex hormones including testosterone.
Her case sparked controversy worldwide, with many criticising the invasive gender verification procedures and subsequent medical intervention she was made to endure.
In a new HBO documentary, the athlete opens about the issues she faced, stating she offered to show the governing body her vagina in order to prove she’s female.
She told HBO’s Real Sports: “They thought I had a d**k, probably.
"I told them: ‘It’s fine. I’m a female, I don’t care. If you want to see I’m a woman, I will show you my vagina. All right?’”
In 2011, World Athletics – previously the International Association of Athletics Federations – ordered that all female athletes with hyperandrogenism had to lower their testosterone levels through medication.
But the side effects were severe, with Semenya adding: “It made me sick, made me gain weight, panic attacks, I don’t know if I was ever going to have a heart attack.
“It’s like stabbing yourself with a knife every day. But I had no choice. I’m 18, I want to run, I want to make it to Olympics, that’s the only option for me.”
HBO also interviewed World Athletics lawyer Jonathan Taylor, who disagreed with the backlash against women with sex development differences being made to take medication.
He said: "You say medically it’s not healthy for me, then my question back to you is: ‘Why do the world’s leading experts say that that is what we would prescribe?'"
However, Semenya shut this opinion down, stating: “Jonathan must cut his tongue and throw it away. If he wants to understand how that thing has tortured me, he must go and take those medications. He will understand."
Last year, Semenya was unable to defend her title at the Tokyo Olympics due to the ruling.
The athlete previously pointed out that the World Athletics’ request for her to take drugs is ironic, and advised them to focus on doping rather than people with differences of sexual development (DSDs).
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