General News

Athlete takes discrimination case to European Court of Human Rights

Rachel Badham February 26, 2021

Caster Semenya, an out gay South African athlete who was barred from competing in certain track events due to her testosterone levels, is taking her case against discriminatory sporting regulations to the European Court of Human Rights. This  follows the loss of two legal appeals to the World Athletics federation. According to ESPN, Semenya is a two time Olympic champion in the 800m event, but World Athletics barred her from preventing in certain races unless she medically lowered her testosterone levels. 

Semenya was identified female at birth and has identified as such for her whole life, but has XY chromosomes and higher than average testosterone levels. World Athletics argued this gives her an ‘unfair advantage’ over other runners. Semenya is taking the case to court on the basis there has been a “violation of her rights”. One of her lawyers said World Athletics’ current regulations have required Semenya to “undergo humiliating and invasive physical examinations followed by harmful and experimental medical procedures if they wish to compete internationally.”

Semenya hopes taking the case to the Court of Human Rights will help other women who are discriminated against in sport, saying on Twitter:This fight is not just about me, it’s about taking a stand and fighting for dignity, equality and the human rights of women in sport. All we ask is to be able to run free as the strong and fearless women we are!” She has received support from LGBTQ+ advocacy groups and activists, with Stonewall saying it stands with her in her fight for sporting equality.