As many will recall, the gold medal performance in the 800 meter track competition by caster-semenyaCaster Semenya, a South African athlete, last month at the Berlin World Championships, sparked a “sex panic” when some observers questioned Semenya’s “real” sex. Well, things have turned a troubling corner in this matter this week. An Australian newspaper reported today that Semenya’s “gender verification” test results revealed that she failed the female sex test. That is to say, the results are reported to show that her body does not fall within the prescribed definition of a woman for competitive international sports.  
 
I put the issue this way for a reason – failed the female sex test - because the International Association of Athletics Federations’s (IAAF) gender verification policy applies only to women’s events. Their testing is not designed to determine an athlete’s “real” sex, but rather seeks to discover whether a competitor such as Semenya is “enjoying the benefits of natural testosterone predominance normally seen in a male.” In essence, to pass the test the competitor must show “female levels of testosterone” (my term).