Olympic Champion Semenya Wins Testosterone Ruling

    Photo: Wikimedia Commons

    The Facts

    • Two-time Olympic champion runner Caster Semenya on Tuesday won a case at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). The ruling said the South African runner had been discriminated against by World Athletics, who are forcing her to reduce her natural testosterone levels to compete.

    • World Athletics passed a rule in 2018 requiring women with higher-than-normal testosterone to lower their levels to compete in the 400-, 800- and 1.5K-meter races, which are Semenya’s top events. She has said that she's tried to suppress her levels but that the drugs she took made her sick and susceptible to injuries.


    The Spin

    Narrative A

    A man identifying as a woman is one thing, but Caster Semenya is a naturally-born woman who happens to have different hormone levels than her competition. It's clearly discriminatory to force a human being to medically alter their natural body to compete in artificial standards of the gender category they were born into. The ECHR made the absolutely correct ruling.

    Narrative B

    World Athletics simply wants to ensure that the majority of women are given a fair shot in competitions. Unfortunately for those with medically-verified differences in sex development (DSD), their testosterone levels can be so high they breach the average levels seen in men — most women cannot compete against such advantages. The rules from World Athletics may seem harsh but they're fair.


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