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Caster Semenya Must Take Drugs That Lower Testosterone to Compete

Caster Semenya

The Olympic champion will be forced to take drugs to lower her testosterone if she wants to compete in middle-distance running. 

A court has ruled that Olympic track and field star Caster Semenya must take drugs to lower her testosterone if she wants to compete internationally in middle-distance events, according to CNN.

Semenya has what's medically referred to as hyperandrogenism, a condition that occurs in 5 percent to 10 percent of women, causing what's deemed as an excess of testosterone that leads to more muscle mass.

The 28-year-old South African runner lost her appeal against the International Association of Athletics Federation's new policy in the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

The IAAF's policy, which goes into effect on May 8, requires that female athletes with what is referred to as differences in sexual development would have to lower their blood testosterone to what the governing body deems acceptable for a continuous period of at least six months in order to compete in events between 400 meters and a mile.

"The [three-person] Panel found that the DSD Regulations are discriminatory, but the majority of the Panel found that, on the basis of the evidence submitted by the parties, such discrimination is a necessary, reasonable and proportionate means of achieving the IAAF's aim of preserving the integrity of female athletics in the Restricted Events," CAS said in a statement, according to CNBC.

Meanwhile, the IAAF has said that the new policy is required to "preserve fair competition in the female category."

Semenya, who won Olympic gold in the 800-meter race in London in 2012 and in Rio de Janeiro in 2016, recently won a 5,000-meter competion at the South African Athletics Championships. The length of the event allows her to compete outside of IAAF's new rules.

The International Olympic Committee told CNN it was working on creating guidelines with international federations to "shape sport specific policies and regulations in relation to fairness, safety and inclusivity and non-discrimination on the basis of gender identity and sex characteristics."

The National Center for Lesbian Rights' Legal Director Shannon Minter released a statement in response to the decision calling it "cruel:"

"Today's divided opinion by the Court of Sports Arbitration is cruel, unprincipled, and riddled with internal contradictions. The court acknowledges that the International Association of Athletics Federation rule requiring Caster Semenya to alter her body in order to compete is discriminatory, will be difficult if not impossible to administer, and may subject Caster to dangerous side effects--and yet the court has allowed this shameful rule to stand. Caster is a woman and has earned her success. There is no justification for this intrusive and unworkable policy, which targets Caster based on racist and sexist stereotypes about how women "should" look and behave. The history of women's sports is riddled with similar attempts to scrutinize women's bodies and force them into sexist molds, and women of color, in particular, have borne the brunt of those failed efforts. We applaud Caster for her courage in fighting this injustice, and we join millions of other advocates across the globe in calling on the International Association of Athletics Federation to abandon this discriminatory rule."

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