Fairness, Semenya and Denise Lewis


I know this is about blog is supposed to be about cycling but there’s something that really rather got on my tits recently and that’s the conversation around Caster Semenya. She and I have something in common.

Recently Denise Lewis wrote a rather considered opinion piece about the situation where in the closing paragraph she bleated on about how unfair it is to have Semenya compete with the women.

There’s a medical reason I am the way I am and to have a woman say that women like me shouldn’t be allowed to complete is basically fucked. You want to talk about unfairness? Try living in the world where you can get arrested for trying to go for a pee and having to allow a female officer to check you don’t have a penis, try going clothes shopping and having the very young Saturday girl tell you the men’s changing is over there before calling security because you refuse to try on clothing in the men’s section.

Let’s talk about the endless raft of operations, lets talk about the problems you have dating or finding a partner, Let’s talk about the social constructs which gear the world to the heteronormative standards because someone doesn’t look like a woman, or run like a woman, or throws like a girl or looks masculine can’t possibly be a woman.

There are those that say nasty things about Serena Williams and yet I can’t recall anyone saying she should be biologically tested to see if she conforms to the reductive rules of competition.

I hear about gifted athletes, Usain Bolt held up for his speed, Mo Farah for his genetically freakish endurance but when it comes to Semenya’s sporting prowess which are a product of her birth then all of a sudden it’s not fair. Denise Lewis can fuck off.

Jesse Owens, went to Germany and pissed all over Adolfs master race idea, that’s a breakthrough in sports that no one should ever forget it made a racial point, Smith and Carlos with defiant leather covered fists raised on the podium, ALI announcing he threw his medal into the Ohio River. Racial Battles have been fought on the track and now it’s time for another battle. It’s now time to challenge the social constructs which bind us all.

To people like me Semenya is amazing, she’s taken all the shit the IOC and the doping people have thrown at her, she faced the media speculation and the awful shit nasty undermining comments designed to remove her and yet she owns the Olympics.

I’m sorry that Denise doesn’t have a deeper understanding of the challenges people like me face perhaps if she had she would have made a more pointed educational article instead of sounding like a whinging child stomping her feet while bleating on about fairness.

Being told that you’re born differently and then having to negotiate a world that isn’t designed for you isn’t a nice thing and when you find something that you can do and you enjoy to have someone tell you can do that thing because you’re not the same as everyone else is wrong and shows no appreciation for other people’s lives.

I will not engage on twitter about this due to the character limitations, if you have questions, leave a comment.


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