Nov. 19, 2021

Caster Semenya (South Africa): Who Decides Who's Female and Why?

Caster Semenya (South Africa): Who Decides Who's Female and Why?

It’s been a while since the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, but we wanted to amplify and celebrate a voice the world missed in Japan. 2x Olympic gold medalist and 3x World Champion runner, Caster S...


It’s been a while since the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, but we wanted to amplify and celebrate a voice the world missed in Japan. 2x Olympic gold medalist and 3x World Champion runner, Caster Semenya was barred from competing in her events because of her higher than 'normal' testosterone levels. Caster was legally blocked by the International Association of Athletics Federations (now World Athletics) from competing unless she changed her natural body via hormone shots, surgery, or birth control pills. She didn’t.

 

In this episode, Caster shares her triumphs and challenges, and opens up about what this journey has been like for her. Just three days ago the International Olympic Committee (IOC) stated that testosterone will not determine sex eligibility in future Games, but as we know, Tokyo has come and gone. That said, as Caster selflessly says, "This is about the future, the young ones". Caster, you deeply inspire us with your courage, strength, and determination.

 

Thank you for trusting us to tell your story. Contributing experts in order of appearance include: Becky Motumo Molete (Managing Director, Afrimogul Sports Talent, Caster's Manager); Dr. Jessica Kremen (Pediatric Endocrine Physician, Boston Children's Hospital), and Dr. Ole-Petter Hamnvik (Co-Director, Transgender Health Program, Brigham and Women's Hospital).

 

Thank you to Harvard Kennedy School's Dr. Zoe Marks and to Middlebury College's Dr. Karin Hanta for your editing guidance.

 

Media clips from: -NBC Sports' YouTube, 'Caster Semenya wins women's 800 meter final at 2016 Rio Olympics' -CBS Sports' YouTube, 'Caster Semenya Takes 400M Race with Furious Finish' -World Athletics' YouTube, 'Women's 800m Final | IAAF World Championships London 2017' -SuperSport's YouTube, 'In Conversation with Caster Semenya' -eNCA's YouTube, 'Caster Semenya breaks her silence' -NPR's 'Olympic Runner Caster Semenya Wants To Compete, Not Defend Her Womanhood' -NPR's ''I Am A Woman': Track Star Caster Semenya Continues Her Fight To Compete As Female' -NPR's 'Olympic Runner Caster Semenya Wants To Compete, Not Defend Her Womanhood' -Olympics.com's 'DSD athletes: What does it mean to be DSD and how gender and sex are the big issues in athletics' -SABC News' YouTube, 'Caster Semenya says her battle with IAAF is a fight for Human Rights'