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Gender test for athlete Caster Semenya

(38 Posts)
Habbibu Wed 19-Aug-09 20:06:17

Just saw this on the athletics coverage - it seems very odd, and worth discussing the rights and wrongs, esp. as it seems to have been sparked by rumours. I'm puzzled why the testing takes so long - I'd have thought a chromosome test would be ok - unless you had odd results like XXY, etc. Can anyone enlighten me?

differentDM Wed 19-Aug-09 20:08:03

they need to do internal tests I think about 3 or 4 docors are going to be involved.
have a look at this interview

Habbibu Wed 19-Aug-09 20:10:40

Any idea why a simple chromosome blood test wouldn't do?

Jaquelinehyde Wed 19-Aug-09 20:12:03

I think they are right to do it even if there is the tiniest amount of doubt. However, I'm with Michael Johnson on this one it should have been kept secret until an announcement could be made, if any was needed.

I am disgusted that this has come out so close to her final event. Bloody sick angry

FabBakerGirlIsBack Wed 19-Aug-09 20:12:08

IMA when I first saw the photo I thought it was of a man.

Niecie Wed 19-Aug-09 20:17:13

I must admit that I thought it was a man too.

I kind of knew what they were going to say before they said it.

I don't think that a single chromosome test is enough though is it? Would it not be possible to have XY chromosomes and yet still produce male levels of certain hormones, if she has some sort hormone imbalance problem? I don't know though. I know nothing about this sort of thing.

I don't know the ins and outs of it either but I do agree that it should have been done anonymously. Poor woman - having her whole identity queried.

Heated Wed 19-Aug-09 20:18:00

She has a very masculine jaw and frame - in fact I did think the photograph was of a man. Wondered if there was a hormone imbalance (has obvious facial hair), performance enhancing drugs, or is intersex. But she is very young, how horrible to have this attention.

nancy75 Wed 19-Aug-09 20:19:30

i think i am being really stupid here - do they think she is a man that has had a sex change, or still a man and has found some way to hide it?
and if she has a hormone imbalance that is not caused by drugs then what would the outcome be?

Habbibu Wed 19-Aug-09 20:19:51

Did you mean XX, niecie? I'd have thought that if you were XX, then you were female, and your level of testosterone, if natural, was just part of the deal - surely getting into very sticky area if that one got opened up?

Jaquelinehyde Wed 19-Aug-09 20:20:10

Read this it answers most questions.

Habbibu Wed 19-Aug-09 20:21:39

x-posts, Nancy. I don't know what they think, but yes, that's my question - a natural excess of hormone surely isn't something that could disqualify you. And don't conditions like PCOS cause excess facial hair, etc?

Jaquelinehyde Wed 19-Aug-09 20:22:14

This is not a question of sex change etc, which is why it is even worse as this is something she lives with day in day out just because of how she was born. sad

Habbibu Wed 19-Aug-09 20:23:58

Thanks, JH. I'd just really like to understand more of the detail of genetic/chromosome testing, I guess. It's grim to have it all so public - (says she, posting on the internet about it).

StripeySuit Wed 19-Aug-09 20:27:12

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Niecie Wed 19-Aug-09 20:27:58

<Snort> - that would kind of be conclusive wouldn't it if the poor woman was XY. Yes I meant XX.blush

That is what I was saying though - the chromosome test perhaps isn't enough because it could be a hormone imbalance.

I suppose it doesn't matter if it is something you can't help - if whatever the problem is gives you an unfair advantage then it has to be looked at. But again - this should have been done in private.

Just as a matter of interest, what chromosomes do hermaphrodites have? Would she even know? This could be very frightening if she has not had any inkling of a problem before.

Habbibu Wed 19-Aug-09 20:33:29

Unfair advantage is really dodgy ground, though, isn't it? I mean, Usain Bolt is really unusual in being very tall and very fast, which gives him a Huge advantage, but not something that should disqualify him.

Stripey, that's sort of why I posted - I'd kind of naively assumed that XX would do the trick for these purposes (accepting that you do get XXY, XYY, etc), and realised by the battery of tests that I was wrong. Still don't understand why, though. Was Tamum really the only MN geneticist?

Heated Wed 19-Aug-09 20:35:08

Well, she's about to run now.

Heated Wed 19-Aug-09 20:37:15

Gold medal

Habbibu Wed 19-Aug-09 20:38:02

She is bloody fast, isn't she?

Jaquelinehyde Wed 19-Aug-09 20:39:15

Yes you go girl!!!!!

Themasterandmargaritas Wed 19-Aug-09 20:41:50

Fantastic run! Poor girl to be under so much scrutiny.

Fwiw, in some African cultures facial hair is considered an attractive feature.

I do wish that German discus thrower would get off the track now. It's gettting tedious.

nancy75 Wed 19-Aug-09 20:43:22

habbibu, i think i agree with what you are saying, if it is down to a condition she was born with and has no control over and possibly had no knowledge of until people questioned her, it doesnt seem fair to ban her.

CybilLiberty Wed 19-Aug-09 20:45:11

Just ask her to make the tea, sweep the floor, answer the phone and use the computer at the same time. If she can she's a woman.

Habbibu Wed 19-Aug-09 20:49:15

Not very impressed with what Jenny Meadows just said...

edam Wed 19-Aug-09 20:49:26

poor woman, how horrible to be subject to this kind of speculation and testing. There are plenty of men with rather 'feminine' faces and vice versa.

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