Olympic Medalist Caster Semanya Marries Longtime Love Again: Why You Should Care
After marrying a year ago in a traditional South African ceremony, Olympic track medalist Caster Semenya and long-time partner Violet Raseboya had a modern ceremony Saturday in the company of family and friends, sharing photos with fans on social media.
Semenya’s “intersex” status has resulted in huge controversy for the 26-year-old athlete, who has been subjected to humiliating gender tests and exclusions from competing for long periods in her career.
Semenya has hyperandrogenism, which gives her testosterone levels three times higher than most women, and closer to male levels, Daily Mail reported. Born without ovaries, she has instead internal testes.
“It seems the sports world just doesn’t know what to do with an athlete like Semenya,” NBC reported in August. “The South African runner, and others like her, may present one of the greatest dilemmas for the perception of fairness in sports. Athletes like Semenya — those that don’t conform to standard definitions of male or female — debunk any presumption that everyone fits neatly into those definitive categories in sports.”
South Africans supported Semenya overwhelmingly during the Rio Olympics, when she experienced open hostility and protests from other runners who said the race was unfair because they were competing against a man.
South Africans protected Semenya on social media with the hashtag, #handsoffcaster. She was named Person of the Year at the 2016 MTV Africa Music Awards.
Semenya and Raseboya married Saturday at Chez Charlene Wedding Venue in Pretoria, Eyewitness News reported. Semenya shared a photo of the couple tagged “Our perfect day.”
South Africa is the only African country where same-sex marriage is legal, due in large part to a desire to reverse the evils of apartheid, Face2Face Africa reported.
Some African countries have outlawed same-sex relationships as a crime punishable by prison terms.
South Africa has one of the most liberal constitutions in the world. It recognizes the rights of minority groups, the LGBT community, and the right of a woman to choose abortion.
The modern wedding follows a traditional ceremony in December 2015 where Caster paid a dowry of more than $1,800 to her bride’s family. The bride wore white, Daily Mail reported:
Semanya was dressed in a classic “Prince Charming-style” outfit, complete with an embroidered jacket, gold breeches, and velvet slippers, while Raseboya, 30, who is an athlete herself, wore a full-length white lace and appliqué dress. The pair would later change into sun-colored traditional clothes and beaded accessories for the reception.
Semenya’s story is well known. She dominated the women’s 800-meter runners at the 2009 world championships as an 18-year-old newcomer, NBC reported. The time difference was huge between her and the defending world champion, who placed second. When she showed off her bicep muscles after the race, this just enflamed earlier revelations that she had had sex verification tests.
She was later sidelined for 11 months by world track’s governing body, the IAAF. Allowed to run again in 2010, she won a silver medal in the 800 meters at the 2012 Olympics, and gold at the Rio Olympics in 2016.
Caster’s victory at the Rio Olympics was the most bitterly contested
event of the games, Daily Mail reported. She credited her fans and Raseboya, 30 — also a runner — with giving her the strength and confidence to confront her critics, or “haters” as she described them.
Semenya has been tested to prove she is female, and was forced to take medicine to suppress her testosterone levels after complaints that she had an unfair
advantage. The medicine affected her performance
The rules were challenged and now she can now compete without medication.
“If I was a woman 800-meter runner right now, I’d be looking to change careers,” sports scientist Ross Tucker told the Associated Press.” You can’t beat this advantage. It’s too big.”
Semenya recently earned a degree in sports science, according to Daily Mail.
“Her case has never been about a man masquerading as a woman,” NBC reported. “Semenya is a woman because she says she’s a woman, was legally recognized at birth as female, treated as female, and identified as female. Nobody can dictate to Semenya what gender she is.”
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