Framing the Dialogue

Having It Both Ways

Last fall the sports world was in high angst when a South African athlete was accused of being more that met the eye.  Caster Semenya, an 18 year old runner won the gold medal in the 800 meter run at the World Athletics Championships.  Semenya won the woman’s title in a fantastic performance capping a rapid improvement over the past year. 

Controversy reared its ugly head when Semenya was accused of not being a woman.  Tests were ordered and many pundits speculated on the fate of the young person’s gold medal were it discovered that the athlete was a male.  When the results came in Semenya was…BOTH.  The hermaphrodite has “NO womb or ovaries — and has internal testes, the male sexual organs which produce testosterone…Her birth certificate has the teen listed as female and urine tests showed that, despite her having higher than average male hormone levels, they are within the official limits for a woman.”

In a second story a local teen  tennis player is trying to win the boys single title this year.  The rub is that Tanya Timko is NOT a boy and will aparantly be permitted to compete for the boys tennis title.  If Timko follows the same rules and is good enough to win shouldn’t that be OK?  Who doesn’t root for Danika Patrick? 

Ordinarily I would not even have read this story let alone commented on it, but when I thought back to the Semenya controversy it really did not seem fair.  I know; life is not fair.  I have to ask, however, if Timko is allowed to compete in the boys competition then why shouldn’t boys be allowed to compete in the girls competition?  Rules are, after all, are rules so if we are going to break some let’s change or break them all. 

I propose no gender distinction in sports. 

Women can play in the NBA and guys can play in the WNBA. 

Semenya should be able to compete in either men’s or women’s races. 

Let’s have it both ways!

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