[This is an expanded version of a comment prompted by this insightful post from Prof. Sussuro.]
Caster Semenya won the women’s 800-meter race by 2.45 seconds over her nearest rival. I want to start with that fact, because that win is amazing. She is amazing. And this being lost in all these rumors and speculations about Semenya’s sex, gender tests, and possible disqualification.
By now, a number of Pinoys have noted similarities between Semenya and Nancy Navalta, a Pinay teenager whose gender came under scrutiny when she started setting track records in the Philippines in the early 1990s. For both Semenya and Navalta, it was their appearance—their well-muscled physiques and flat, powerful chests—that was used to question their femaleness. Both women departed radically from the standards of beauty and softness often associated with womanhood.