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Recently two African athletes, Christine Mboma and Beatrice Masilingi, have been banned from the Olympic 400 metre dash for not suppressing natural testosterone levels that exceed 5 nmol/L. This is being spun into a narrative that black ‘cis’ women athletes are being victimised by racist terfs who can’t tell the difference between trans athletes and black female athletes.

Nobody is talking about the fact that these athletes are intersex and have testes that produce these high levels of testosterone. It’s not discrimination against ‘cis black women’ for their athleticism. In Rio 2016 the women’s 800M winners podium had 3 XY intersex individuals on it including caster semenya. How is this fair for black women without high testosterone who couldn’t compete?

I feel for intersex individuals as it isn’t their fault but really they are taking the place of women who don’t have the testosterone advantage. All of these claims that terfs hate black women but nobody is thinking about the black female athletes that don’t have the chance to perform because their places are being taken. Also it’s ridiculous coming from the side of the debate that is pushing middle aged white males into elite competitions at the expense of young indigenous female athletes (see Laurel Hubbard).

I’m so tired of this manipulation of the facts and fiction-writing. We should be able to have a proper conversation about DSDs and sport without being accused of trying to eliminate black women from the competition because the XY athletes in question are black. A separate DSD contest sounds to me like the answer to these issues, but of course that would be met with cries of ‘racial segregation’ from the TRAs despite the fact that these countries could send a non-intersex female to run in the non-intersex category - and that white majority countries could enter athletes with DSDs into the DSD competition.

In short, the people crying about ‘terf racism’ don’t care about intersex people, they don’t care about black women, and they don’t care about women’s sports. They are appropriating the real issue of racism in sport for political point scoring and as a distraction technique to deflect from the Hubbard controversy

Recently two African athletes, Christine Mboma and Beatrice Masilingi, have been banned from the Olympic 400 metre dash for not suppressing natural testosterone levels that exceed 5 nmol/L. This is being spun into a narrative that black ‘cis’ women athletes are being victimised by racist terfs who can’t tell the difference between trans athletes and black female athletes. Nobody is talking about the fact that these athletes are intersex and have testes that produce these high levels of testosterone. It’s not discrimination against ‘cis black women’ for their athleticism. In Rio 2016 the women’s 800M winners podium had 3 XY intersex individuals on it including caster semenya. How is this fair for black women without high testosterone who couldn’t compete? I feel for intersex individuals as it isn’t their fault but really they are taking the place of women who don’t have the testosterone advantage. All of these claims that terfs hate black women but nobody is thinking about the black female athletes that don’t have the chance to perform because their places are being taken. Also it’s ridiculous coming from the side of the debate that is pushing middle aged white males into elite competitions at the expense of young indigenous female athletes (see Laurel Hubbard). I’m so tired of this manipulation of the facts and fiction-writing. We should be able to have a proper conversation about DSDs and sport without being accused of trying to eliminate black women from the competition because the XY athletes in question are black. A separate DSD contest sounds to me like the answer to these issues, but of course that would be met with cries of ‘racial segregation’ from the TRAs despite the fact that these countries could send a non-intersex female to run in the non-intersex category - and that white majority countries could enter athletes with DSDs into the DSD competition. In short, the people crying about ‘terf racism’ don’t care about intersex people, they don’t care about black women, and they don’t care about women’s sports. They are appropriating the real issue of racism in sport for political point scoring and as a distraction technique to deflect from the Hubbard controversy

109 comments

I don't know about the eugenics part, but as you said it does appear like these countries are doing this specifically to win and gain some international prestige.

I believe another reason some African countries have done this is to stick it to the European-led world sports governing bodies & to the nations of "the Global North" more generally.

Athletics South Africa decided to put Semenya forward as a runner in women's sports knowing that Semenya was XY DSD not just to gain gold, glory & $$, but to challenge the hegemony of white-dominated orgs like the IAAF/World Athletics & the IOC - & to use modern-day gender ideology to hoist the white "global North" by its own petard more generally.

Many ANC officials who had risen to power in the SA government by the time Semenya was dubbed SA's "golden girl" attended college/uni or grad school in North America or the UK when gender studies & queer theory were becoming all the rage on campuses. I don't think it's a stretch to think that a number of guys with astute political minds from SA cleverly realized that ideas coming out of Western academia - such as "sex is a spectrum, not a binary," "there are five sexes," "no one knows what a woman is" & "sex determination in humans is really hard to do" - could easily be used to challenge the system of sex categorization in sports as well as to protest Europeans' "colonialist," oppressively binary, & of course "racist" & "white supremacist" ideas about who is a woman.

Whilst the South Africans haven't succeeded in trying to end sex categorization in women's sports, they have by & large won the war in the court of public opinion. People here & on forums like letsrun.com widely see the Semenya saga for the scam & long con that it is, but most of the world sees it very differently. Most of the world doesn't view Semenya as an XY person who has made use of his male-only DSD to cheat in sports & to screw over women athletes. No, most of the world sees Semenya as a noble, put-upon "woman with naturally occurring high testosterone" who has been treated unfairly & cruelly by the IAAF/WA. Most of the world sees Lynsey Sharp as evil, & Semenya as a saint.