Yesterday, the Swiss Federal Court made a landmark decision to protect women’s rights in sports that will not only save women’s sports from destruction, but also create opportunities to fight for women’s rights in other areas .
I’ve been following the development of this case for more than 10 years, behind a lot of courts, commissions, public debates, case reviews, scandals, suspensions and returns, court orders and appeals, and here’s the final: the court of last instance stood on the side of women!
So, for those who did not follow this case, I will try to summarize the essence of the issue.
In 2009, a new star of women’s sports appeared on the arena of world athletics – South African runner Caster Semenya. She was then 18 years old, she appeared literally out of nowhere, that is, in any running competition she had not previously been seen, but immediately reached the top of the women’s 800 m race and won the world championship in Berlin.
I was at that championship and I, like other sports journalists, commentators and spectators, were struck by the sight of the new champion. The fact is that it was easy to confuse her with a man – she was taller, more muscular and wider in the shoulders not only of all her rivals, but also of many male athletes, on her face – stubble, on her neck – an Adam’s apple, a low voice with a hoarseness.
When Semenya entered the award ceremony, the tolerant German audience, which at that time was not yet accustomed to seeing athletes resembling men on women’s podiums, booed the champion.
This was how a grandiose scandal began in the light athletics, which will soon spread to the entire sport and go far beyond the sports lobby.
Semenya was tested and it turned out that she is, no, not transgender, she is intersex. At birth (her mother gave birth at home, and the gender of the child was determined by her grandmother), she was identified as a girl and received a birth certificate marked F in the gender column. Then she was raised as a girl, but during puberty, the body began to develop in a male pattern. The fact is that Semenya is an intersex type 46 XY DSD, that is, a person with a male set of chromosomes, a male hormonal system, but with a genetic disorder that did not allow the male genitals to be fully formed.
She was asked to go through a course of treatment that brings hormonal balance to the female norm, or compete with men. Semenya chose the first option, the body began to change according to the female type, the results fell, she stopped not only winning, but even getting on the podium.
Then Caster filed a lawsuit against the Sports Arbitration Court (CAS) against the World Athletics Federation for violation of her rights – to be who she was born, and compete with women with their natural testosterone levels.
For information: in adult women, the normal testosterone level lies in the range of 0.29-1.67 nm / l (in sports 0 , 24-3.8 nm / l); in adult men – 12-35 nm / l.
The level of testosterone in Semen was not made public, but it was definitely higher than 10 nm / L, because these are the conditions set before Semen by World Athletics – lower testosterone below 10 and you can compete with women.
10 nm / l is, for a minute, 10 times higher than the average woman’s norm. Testosterone is responsible for muscle growth, recovery, and strength endurance. It is strictly prohibited in sports as doping. Women with natural testosterone of 10 nm / l do not play sports at a professional level, because such women experience huge health problems. But Semenya, on the contrary, having lowered her natural level of the male sex hormone, began to feel bad and lose starts. Why? Maybe because she has a male physiology?
CAS suddenly sided with the Seed and said that World Athletics should do more research and prove that high testosterone levels give an advantage, and in fact, that men are stronger than women … For research CAS gave 2 years, and until then he allowed Caster Semena to compete with women with their natural testosterone levels.
So, the era of redefinition of the concept of “woman” in sports began. The doors to women’s sports have opened not only for intersex with male physiology, but also for transgender people, and indeed for all interested men.
Men began to flood women’s sports, even at the amateur level. Women’s prize money, sports scholarships, sponsorship contracts – all this began to go to men who called themselves women.
A typical story of recent years: a guy goes in for sports, he has low achievements and hundredth places at the youth level, he loses motivation in sports, because with such results he will neither get into professional sports, nor a good sports scholarship. The competition in men’s sports is very intense and he clearly lacks the talent / ability to work to be successful. And suddenly, he realizes that he was simply born in the wrong body, gender dysphoria descends on him, he lets go of his hair and paints his lips with lipstick. And voila, the world is blooming with new colors, and now he is already the champion of the school, then the State, the best universities in the country are vying with each other to offer sports scholarships – which means the opportunity to study for free at the Ivy League universities. And what needs to be done for this? Yes, just compete with women, having a male physiology.
2016, Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. Look at the pedestal of the women’s 800m race (picture below the post). The winner is Caster Semenya. Silver and bronze – at Wambui and Nyonsaba. All three XY DSD.
The probability of having an XY DSD is 0.018%. How did it happen that there are so many people with such a pathology in women’s sports that they already occupy whole pedestals at major competitions if they have no biological advantage over women?
Or the rules of mathematical statistics have stopped working or “everything is rotten in the Danish kingdom”?
When World Athletics finally gathered scientific data that proved that men have an advantage in physical strength over women, Semenya and her friends were again suspended from the competition with women.
But this decision did not suit them. Where will they earn their millions if not competing with women?
They filed an appeal and returned to women’s sports again. And so these courts and appeals lasted for many years. During this time, many women’s sports careers have been broken. A lot of money has flowed from women’s sports into the hands of those who were not supposed to go to the start with women according to the rules of fair play.
And, finally, after long proceedings, the Swiss Federal Tribunal is the highest court of the country where CAS is located – supported the CAS decision on the validity of the World Athletics rules on the participation of intersex athletes in women’s sports.
This is the final decision: the Semen case is closed! The CFT decision is a long-awaited victory for all women. The wording of the decision provides a legal argument for shielding women’s sports from male bodies, whether transwomen or intersex.
“In some contexts, such as competitive sports, biological characteristics can be excluded and fair and equal competition, prevail over a person’s legal sex or gender identity ”!
“ Honesty in sports is a legitimate principle and is the cornerstone of sports competition. The European Court of Human Rights also emphasizes the factor of fair competition. So the CAS rightly attached importance to protecting the interests of women in the “women’s category.”
Now, based on this decision, all sports federations can begin the process of clearing women’s sports of men.
While these litigation in sports were going on, as we can see, the attack of men extended to other women’s rights: women’s spaces (toilets, showers, locker rooms, prisons, shelters), women’s scholarships, political and work quotas. Yes, even the very word “woman “And” mother “are trying to erase, dilute its meaning, including in this concept all willing men.
All these attacks have yet to be repelled, but today an excellent precedent has been created, which gives great hope for a happy outcome for women this fight.