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Mandatory hormone therapy for Caster Semenya is an affront to all women

South African Olympic champion Caster Semenya has few options other than appeal again, quit or undergo testosterone suppression

Track and Field: IAAF World Championships in Athletics
Caster Semenya of South Africa poses with the bronze medal after placing third in the women’s 1,500m during the IAAF World Championships in Athletics at London Stadium at Queen Elizabeth Park on August 8, 2017.
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

“This is a naturally talented woman being forced to alter her body,” said Dawn Ennis, “to suit men who decide what our fate is.”

The Outsports managing editor and transgender woman offered her analysis and opinion of the Caster Semenya verdict in a television interview Wednesday, broadcast on CGTN America, the U.S. branch of the China Global Television Network. The Court for Arbitration for Sport ruled Wednesday, that while requiring testosterone suppression for Semenya and other runners like her was discriminatory, it was necessary.

“I’ve never heard the words ‘discrimination’ and ‘necessary’ together,” said Ennis. “It doesn’t make any sense.

CGTN’s Asieh Namdar asked Ennis about the International Association of Athletics Federations’ stance, that female athletes like Semenya with high testosterone have an unfair advantage — and what impact the decision to require her and women like her to undergo hormone therapy to chemically suppress their testosterone in order to compete.

“It seems very arbitrary,” Ennis told CGTN, as to why the IAAF picked 5 nmol/L as the level female athletes with differences of sexual developments (DSD). “It doesn’t seem to have science behind it.”

She went on to mention that all people have testosterone, including women, in varying degrees, and while there can be no doubt it provides a physical advantage, so does training, genetics and other factors. She expressed her sincere concerns about the impact this verdict has on all women, including transgender women.

“This, to me, is the legal equivalent of genital mutilation,” Ennis said. “I consider myself a woman. And any attack on any woman is an attack on all of us.”

Watch the interview below or by clicking here for CGTN’s YouTube video.