Congratulations, Caster Semenya

Caster Semenya

18-year-old Caster Semenya is a South African middle-distance runner and champion.  This should be a time for celebration for her and for us.

Instead her gender is being picked apart.  Apparently there are a lot of people capable of doing genetic testing by eye sight alone because there are many reports that she is a man or a hermaphrodite.  I’ve seen a few reports that she might “technically” be a female because she has female organs.  And here I was thinking that having a vagina, uterus and ovaries at any point in the game sealed the deal.  We live and we learn.

Allegations about Ms. Semenya have caused me to deeply regret the time I’ve wasted worrying that the “The United States now ranks eighteenth in Education among industrial nations” according to The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (2008).  There are so many highly qualified freelance scientists in our midst.  Who knew?  Why are they holding out on us?  We need the cure for HIV and cancer.  I’d also like to see a cure for fibroids.

Ms. Semenya is a very young woman who deserves our respect, support and admiration.  She is not a canvas to paint on our prejudices and fears about gender.  She doesn’t deserve to be held in contempt for being dark with strong features, if that’s what this is really about.

Her focus, vulnerability and capacity for joy make me proud, especially when I consider the enormous odds she had to overcome.

She doesn’t look like a woman?

She looks like

… Aunt Jemima

… West African market women

… Harriet Tubman

… Sojourner Truth

… Our sister, mother, daughter, friend

Come to terms with Caster Semenya and you’ll come to terms with yourself.

Here is a better response:

Winnie Mandela and Caster Semenya

And P.S. I don’t believe all the hype about Winnie Mandela either.


About liftingasweclimb

Mildred Lewis writes and directs for theater, television, film and the web. She's also a full time professor, Christian, activist and troublemaker with a passion to save as much of the world as she can.
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