Well, yes

I wonder if there’s some kind of explanation for the way in which Michael Phelps, who is a straight white man, was treated differently from Caster Semenya, who is a gay black woman. It’s a mystery!

Phelps is competing in an open category. Semenya in a limited one. Limited to those of a particular gender. A gender – or sex if you prefer – which she’s not really quite one of.

15 thoughts on “Well, yes”

  1. Competative sport is a competition of biological ability, so it is biological differences that count, not sociological ones.

  2. Caster Semenya looks like a man – “natural” too high testosterone changes woman.

    If a man has too high oestrogen: moobs and little body hair.

    Verdict correct

  3. The Pedant-General

    But at least bigmouth had the self-awareness to post that in the category “bullshit”

  4. Bloke in North Dorset

    Eric Weinstein made a good point on Twitter:

    Rachmaninov I believe could span an octave + a 6th. As could Liszt. I can sorta fake an octave + a third.

    Reverend Gary Davis had a rotated wrist. Hound dog Taylor an extra finger.

    Elizabeth Taylor and Jackie Kennedy were straight up mutants. Ergo stunners.

    Love your outliers.

    Everything good that we are began as a mistake. A mutation if you will. As many of you know, I feel strongly about mutant rights and mutant pride.

    I don’t know what the right thing is here…but let’s make sure we find solutions that don’t force us to give up natural advantages.

  5. “Except there is no doubt that genetically and biologically she is female.”

    She is? I thought – and I admit I’ve not been following this in detail – she was more male. Undescended testes where ovaries would be etc?

  6. “Elizabeth Taylor and Jackie Kennedy were straight up mutants. Ergo stunners.”

    Elizabeth Taylor had distichiasis – a second set of eyelashes. The director of National Velvet told the make-up artist to clean up the eyeliner as it was too thick for a girl, to be told that there wasn’t any on yet.

  7. Chernyy_Drakon

    I thought Phillip Seymour Hoffman was dead. Maybe he just went into deep research.

  8. In terms of her sex apparently the tests were never made public but the IAAF cleared her to run as a female. The recent court case relates to testosterone levels only.

  9. I have to say that I thought that Semenya was CAIS, that is an XY genetic type with complete androgen insensitivity syndrome. So she has a high testosterone but can’t use it. typically but not necessarily somewhat masculine in body type (sometimes can be classic female, the effect off the trait is quite variable), little or no body hair, but outwardly female. Typically the undescended testes are removed when discovered as they have a significant chance of becoming malignant.

    She could also be simply a long way down the AIS spectrum but not complete AIS, given her looks and deep voice this seems more likely. That would mean she would react somewhat to testosterone, and maybe the level is so high as “she” cannot process it very well so it isn’t used as it normally would.

    I don’t think it has been publicly announced, no doubt for quite understandable privacy reasons. But it is a tricky point, intersex individuals, whether AIS or from other genetic issues, can fit between typical male and female performance levels. So where do you put them, in the para-olympics ?

  10. We have open competition and we have competition within classifications. Boxing weight dividing are good examples of the latter. So, if we think of through, is asking women’s support.
    So Caster Semenya falls outside the classification and so can’t ente, that’s all.

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