In a startling step backwards for equality in athletics, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) ruled 2-1 against the case brought by Caster Semenya and Athletics South Africa that the IAAF regulations set to take affect this month—which would force her to take unnecessary hormones in order to compete as a woman—are discriminatory. To be exact, they said that although the rules were “discriminatory … such discrimination is a necessary, reasonable and proportionate means of achieving the IAAF’s aim of preserving the integrity of female athletics in the Restricted Events.”
Discrimination is okay? Let us be clear that this is an egregious dismissal of the very notion of human rights.
We are witnessing a witch hunt against one of our own who is especially vulnerable to persecution as a member of multiple marginalized communities. It is immoral and we must stand and speak out against it. As shared in a previous post, if the world can allow a strong, successful adult woman to be treated this way, there is little hope for powerless infants and minors to win the fight for bodily autonomy.
It’s immoral for sporting institutions to ignore the existing evidence–including this latest review, from two Harvard endocrinologists in 2018–which has been presented to them regarding the fact that testosterone cannot be shown to confer athletic advantage, in order to allow the complaints by a bigoted female athletic contingent to determine this case. The CAS and IAAF should stand with the many great women athletes who signed an open letter to the IAAF in support of Semenya competing as she was born–including Billie Jean King, Martina Navratilova, Abby Wambach, Megan Rapinoe, Layshia Clarendon, Meghan Duggan, Casey Legler, and Jen Hudak–rather than catering to the lowest common denominators of prejudice.