My daughter asked me this morning about Caster Semenya and it didn’t make me afraid.
I didn’t feel afraid that if I talked about this famously intersex athlete that somehow my daughter would become frightened and confused about the world she lives in.
When my daughter asked me whether Caster was a man or a woman and what testosterone meant, I simply told her.
I said she is a woman but she was born intersex, which means she has some organs associated with a man – in her case, internal testes that produce testosterone.
LISTEN: Kate de Brito takes a measured approach to Caster Semenya on the Mamamia Out Loud podcast. (Post continues…)
I told her that although women also produce testosterone, it is primarily a male hormone. It affects muscle size and strength. In other words, it plays a part in what makes men stronger and faster than women.
We had a look at some photos of her.
“She does look a bit like a man,” my daughter said.
Yes she does, but then women come in all shapes and sizes. Some women are very muscular, particularly athletes. But she is a woman and she’s racing in a woman’s race at the Olympics, but because she has higher quantities of testosterone than most women, people are questioning whether she should be racing.
— Pieter Howes (@PieterHowes) August 13, 2016