Sunday, November 01, 2015

Germaine Greer, Rachel Dolezal, Caster Semeya, Caitlin Jenner, and Oscar Pistorius
Nowadays we are all likely to meet people who think they are women, have women's names, and feminine clothes and lots of eyeshadow, who seem to us to be some kind of ghastly parody, though it isn't polite to say so. We pretend that all the people passing for female really are. Other delusions may be challenged, but not a man's delusion that he is female.
Five years ago, it would've been hard to imagine Semenya as the subject of a quietly pleasant bit of gossip like this. In September 2009, after a month of whispers brought on by her dominant victory in the 800 at the world championships in Berlin, Semenya was outed as intersex and subjected to a run of leering freak-show coverage that tended to ignore the utter normality of abnormality in top-flight sports. (Think Michael Phelps's elongated torso.) Raised as a girl, Semenya had no ovaries or uterus, according to the results of a test obtained by Australia's Daily Telegraph, which referred to her, primitively, as a hermaphrodite. She had both external female genitalia and undescended testes, the paper reported, leaving the impression that she was enjoying the competitive fruits of the extra testosterone. (It's not so simple: The biochemical processes that lead to intersexuality often affect the body's ability to make use of the testosterone inside it.)
The questions regarding Semeya concerned how to respond fairly as a matter of bureaucracy, of rules  and regulations, to an ambiguous reality. Greer's arguments are not about the intersex.

Questions about Jenner are are more related to questions about Pistorius.

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