The Hounding of Caster Semenya and the Extermination of Hermaphrodites in the "Developed World"

Nonviolent Intersex Protest + Open Letter by, IOC HQ 19.11.2009

>>> IOC/IAAF/FIFA: Mandatory Gender Tests, Surgery for Intersexed Athletes
"Hermaphrodites" in sports: IOC and IAAF deny responsibility
>>> IOC Rally 19.11.09
     >>> Open Letter to IOC      >>> Stop Genital Surgery


1.  Discrimination of "Hermaphrodites" in Sports
2.  Caster Semenya in the Media:
     Portrait of the Native Winner as a Deceiving Monster Pervert
3.  Hermaphrodites in the "Developed World":
     Extermination by Surgery vs. Struggle for Human Rights
4.  Victims of Modernity
5.  1950: From Experimentation to Extermination
6.  2009: "Semenya should have immediate Surgery"
7.  A Human Rights Issue!

A. The Struggle against Discrimination of Hermaphrodites in Sport
B. Hermaphrodites speaking out in Solidarity with Caster Semenya
C. Recommended Literature


1.  Discrimination of "Hermaphrodites" in Sports

Human Rights for Hermaphrodites too!Unfair and harmful treatment of hermaphrodites in women's sports has a long and painful history, shattering careers and crushing lives. The "suspected" athletes' dignity and human rights don't account for much. Accused as cheaters, they're denied of their rights to medical privacy and informed consent, "stripped" of their medals and banned from further competition without due process.

Public shaming and exposure of "suspects" as "sex test failures" and "hermaphrodites" is an inherent part of the procedure, mostly as threat or punishment for failing to comply (i.e feigning injury, undergoing surgery or "retiring quietly"), or just because.

Most victims comply in silence, occasional (mostly) local media fall-out notwithstanding. Since mandatory sex tests for female athletes were replaced by selective tests, "suspects" failing an initial genetic test seem likely to be treated less competently and fairly, while disqualifications have doubled. 


2.  Caster Semenya in the Media:
     Portrait of the Native Winner as a Deceiving Monster Pervert

The unprecedented global hounding of Caster Semenya marks a new low of humiliation in the name of Sports, Nation and Growth in Sales. That the victim is black and hails from rural South Africa—a scoundrel, who suspects illicit motivation.

Apparently, despite of being told so by International Association of Athletics Federation IFAA, local federation Athletics South Africa ASA was not willing to prevent Caster Semenya from competing at the World Championship in Berlin and stalled the IAAF, hoping Caster Semenya would deliver them a gold medal, as she eventually did. Apparently both ASA and IFAA subjected Caster Semenya to sex testing without her informed consent. While the ASA denied their test until proven otherwise, the IAAF test immediately became public knowledge due to a "misadressed" fax, and immediately thereafter was officially announced by the IAAF at a press conference. Later the test's alledged preliminary results were "anonymously leaked" to an australian newspaper, and from there went into heavy rotation in probably every commercial news outlet worldwide.

The only consequences yet for abusing Caster Semenya as some 21st century global freakshow by the IAAF and the global media were

a) ASA Chief Chuene called to resign for letting Caster Semenya compete in Berlin at all, and recently the whole ASA board being suspended, and

b) IAAF vice president and chairman of the London 2012 Olympic Games, Sebastian Coe, proposing rule changes enabling international bodies to "temporarily" suspend future "suspects" on the basis of "interim findings".

Up to now, nobody was held accountable for the IAAF "leaks", nor for subjecting Caster Semenya to tests without informed consent, both by ASA and the IAAF. In similar earlier cases, e.g. Santhi Soundarajan (India) and María José Martínez-Patiño (Spain), also no sports federations or officials were ever held accountable at all. (Also see Appendix below.)

In "western" media, while ASA's decision to let Caster Semenya run got criticised widely, the continuing unfair practice of arbitrarily and secretely disqualifying "suspect" athletes was conveniently ignored–as is the factual existence of modern day real life hermaphrodites in general. 



3.  Hermaphrodites in the "Developed World":
     Extermination by Surgery vs. Struggle for Human Rights

In the first seven weeks in the womb, until "sexual development" kicks in, all of us were hermaphrodites, equipped with both rudimentary ovaries and testicles, and a 100% "ambiguous" genitals. Only thereafter we begin to divide physically, usually (but not always) the XXs into girls and XYs into boys, and some into something of both or inbetween.

The term "Hermaphrodite" stems from Greek mythology, the tale of Hermaphroditos, reluctant son of Hermes and Aphrodite, and enamoured nymph Salmacis, two originally distinct persons forcibly rolled into one body because of unrequited love, a tragic male-female hybrid cursing the world to bear more of its kind.

Commonly used as a derogatory and offensive word, hermaphrodite is recently being reclaimed with pride by individuals and advocacy groups alike. However, many prefer the terms "intersex" or "intersexed" (to avoid conflation with "heterosexual", "homosexual", "transsexual" etc.).

In medicine, "Hermaphroditism" was official nomenclature until after World War II, followed by "Intersex". The current medical term "Disorders of Sex Development DSD" is opposed by the vast majority of "patients"–they refuse to be considered and treated as "disordered". Proposals to exchange "Disorders" for "Differences" or "Variations" were ignored by the medical establishment.

Since the late 1950s, medical guidelines recommend "intersex/DSD patients" to be surgically "corrected" preferably within the first 18 months of their lives. According to the surgeons' motto "It's easier to dig a hole than to build a pole", most of them are "made to girls".

For almost two decades now, hermaphrodites are fighting against forced "corrective" genital surgery without informed consent and are demanding "Human rights for hermaphrodites, too!"   

(Sydney Daily Telegraph/Sowetan)

(The Sun)

4.  Hermaphrodites: Victims of Modernity

While for most western minorities, enlightenment and modern times brought more rights and less abuse, for people born with "ambiguous genitals" the contrary applies. Hermaphrodites are at high risk of being killed just after birth (or to be aborted if discovered by pre-natal examination) in most known societies. In middle age Europe and until modernity, surviving hermaphrodites at least enjoyed

a) growing up with their physical integrity respected, and

b) the privilege to choose whether they wanted to live as male or female as soon as they reached adulthood.

However, with the advent of modern medicine, this changed. In the late 1800s, hermaphrodites found themselves accused to be impostors, frauds and deceivers. For the fathers of modern medicine, in case of doubt, sex was to be determined by surgical examination of the gonads, i.e. the testicles (often undescended and therefore still locateted in the belly or goins) and/or ovaries. This remained state of the art from the 1800s until the dawn of ultrasound and genetics. Only if a patient was able to prove he had both ovaries and testes, or mixed tissue gonads, he was deemed a "true" hermaphrodite, while the vast majority of the species were exposed as mere "pseudo" hermaphrodites, i.e. actually women or men in disguise.

In the 21st century, the likes of Caster Semenya, Santhi Soundarajan, Maria Patino and hundreds more nameless "gender test failures" are again accused of being impostors–this time of disguising as women while not really being one.

(You Magazine)

5.  1950: From Experimentation to Extermination

With a prevalence of about 1:2000, "classic" Hermaphrodites – in the current language of the doctors, "severe cases of Intersex or Disorders of Sex Development (DSD)" – are more frequent than people with cystic fibrosis or autism. Adding those who the doctors "only" diagnose with "genital malformations" (e.g. "Hypospadias"), the rate of children mutilated in western hospitals according to the surgeons themselves amounts to 1-2:1000.

None the less, by the end of the 20th century, after 50 years of systematic surgical and hormonal "corrections" and "repairs", as a species hermaphrodites are virtually extinct, both in real life and in public perception.

Starting the 1910s a.o. Eugen Steinach in Austria, prison surgeon Leo Stanley (San Quentin, USA), and in the 1930s Adolf Butenandt in Nazi-Germany conducted the basic research necessary for inducing "artificial puberty" and "controlled sex development" in humans by administering synthetic hormones, often in combination with castration (soon to become standard treatment for hermaphrodites).

During the same time, at the Johns Hopkins University Hospital in Baltimore (USA), Hugh Hampton Young brought to perfection the experimental surgical techniques of making "ambiguous" genitals at least look more like "regular" ones. What these surgically and endocrinologically constructed, seemingly "unambiguous" genitals would FEEL like was no part in the equation. No wonder, the doctors and scientists regularly complained about reluctant "patients", who not often simply never retuned after their first visit.

In 1950, again at Johns Hopkins, the endocrinologist Lawson Wilkins eventually found a solution to overcome this reluctance: "Curing" the "patients" in their early infancy, since Wilkins had found the parents to be by far more easily persuaded. 

1951, enter John Money from New Zealand at Johns Hopkins. During his influential tenure that lasted until his demise in 2006, Money not only coined the term "gender" in its meanwhile predominant use. Following up on Wilkins' notion, 1955 Money et. al. proposed new guidelines called "Optimal Gender Policy"—the blueprint for the medical extermination of the "intersex patients" (as they were now called) by means of forced genital surgery and/or castration in early childhood, followed by lifelong forced hormone treatments, which  during the next decade was implemented allover the "civilised world".

Money's core "scientific proof" for his theories, published first in 1972, was derived from a degrading human "twin experiment" under his direct supervision. Contrary to Money's claims in publications, the experiment went awfully wrong with tragic consequences for both "subjects" and their relatives. Despite the truth emerging in 1997, Money was never held accountable, nor were his countless followers.

Since the late 1950s, medical guidelines around the globe have been recommending children born with "atypical genitals" a.k.a. "Hermaphrodites/Intersexed/DSD patients" to be surgically "corrected" preferably within the first 18 months of their lives. According to the classic surgeons' motto "It's easier to dig a hole than to build a pole", most of them are "made to girls", although in the meantime urologists increasingly indulge in the "challenge of masculinization".

What these systematic non-consented surgeries actually do FEEL like for the "patients", was never part of the equation, let alone their alleged "benefits" clinically tested. Adult "patients" were simply left behind by the hundreds of thousands.

Today, according to studies by the mutilators themselves, at least 90% of the population born with "indeterminate" or otherwise "unusual" sex anatomies were (and still are!) submitted to on average multiple medically unnecessary genital surgeries starting in early childhood, resulting in appallingly high risk of lifelong loss of genital sensation, physical pain and massive psychological traumata.

Arguably, the continuing forced "medical treatments" of children with "atypical" genitals are one of the worst human rights violation perpetrated in the "developed countries" since the end of World War II.

The cosmetic "treatments" include:

  • "corrective surgery", e.g. amputation of the penis/clitoris a.k.a. "clitoral reduction"; "penile recostruction"; "hypospadias repair"; etc.
  • carving an artificial "neo-vagina" which has to be dilated permanently
  • castration, followed by lifelong hormone "therapy"
  • pre-natal hormone "therapy" (introduced in the late 1970s)
  • concealing the truth from the "patients"

As the last requirement shows, all-encompassing deception is deemed an essential part of the "cure". In order to become  "ordinary" boys and girls, the "patients" must never know they were born different. To achive this, newborns have to be submitted to surgery in the first 18 months and never being told afterwards. The parents are lied to as well and critical information is often withheld from them.

If the gonads (testicles, ovaries, ovotestes) don't fit the assigned gender, doctors insist on castrations to be performed indiscriminately and quickly, threatening parents and "patients" alike with an alleged general "high cancer risk"—while medical surveys indicate relatively common forms in fact have low cancer risk, like e.g. CAIS at 0.9%–2% (in comparison, breast cancer 20%), and regular control would be far more beneficial than indiscriminate removal. (Loijenga 2007, 2008)

Money's framework to "dissolve" all hermaphrodites into seemingly "unambiguous" men and women was never clinically tried and tested, but became worldwide factual standard since the late 1950s, and remains so till today. (Don't accept any different claims by doctors without hard proof and independent monitoring.)

Despite a new change in nomenclature in 2005 from "Intersex" to the highly controversial "Disorders of Sex Development DSD", all the medical trade actually does is "advancing" the same old methods while adding some lip service. But contrary to their regular claims of "newly improved" techniques, studies maintain:

"The news is not good. Clitoral surgery, even when involving techniques less drastic than clitorectomy, compromises adult sexual functions. [...] vaginoplasty, particularly when performed in early childhood, leads to poor outcomes: it often needs to be repeated later in life, and it is fraught with complications." (Sytsma: Intersex and Ethics, 2006, p. xxiv)

(Liberty Times)

6.  2009: "Semenya should have immediate Surgery"

In what western media tellingly refer to as the "Semenya Gender Saga" (BBC, CBS) a.k.a. the "Semenya Sex Scandal" (Sky AU, Salon), surgeons and their accomplices are regularly appearing as pundits.

From the very beginning of the "leaked" test results bonanza, "immediate surgery" and "testes removal" are named as possible requirements for Caster Semenya by the IFAA in order to be allowed to run again, as well as remedy for her "potentially deadly condition". Two months later, these claims are still published regularly.

In several background articles, the "usual supsects", i.e. hospital doctors and science editors alike, advocated forced genital surgery on hermaphrodites without objection, along the established lines of e.g. "[i]n the past [...] surgery" on hermaphrodites may have been "verging on the brutal", but today it's in the their best interest:

"There are babies born who, left to grow up without medical intervention, will be both and neither. [...] [D]octors now prefer to speak of sex development disorders, because a disorder can often be put right. These children do not have to live their lives in a state of sexual ambiguity. If the condition is identified early enough, they can be given help to grow up with a specifically male or female body." (Guardian)


7.  A Human Rights Issue!

Human Rights for Hermaphrodites too!What these non-consented surgeries actually do FEEL like for the "DSD patients", was never clinically tested. No regular follow-ups were done. Adult "patients" were simply left behind–traumatised by unwritten rules of silence and forced surgeries, deprived of sexual sensation and riddled with painful scars.

From the very beginning of their resistance to non-consented treatments, hermaphrodites described themselves as survivors and their plight as torture, rape and inhuman medical experiments. A recent German Study proved suicide rates of surviving hermaphrodites to be comparable to victims of torture or raped children.

Arguably, the continuing forced medical treatments of hermaphrodite children are the worst human rights violation perpetrated in the "developed countries" since the end of world war II.

Despite the often "ambiguous" looks of their private parts, hermaphrodites are usually perfectly healthy. From a strictly medical standpoint, no genital surgery is needed at all. There are some forms that do require medical treatment for health issues, like e.g. the salt-wasting forms of CAH, but these issues again do not concern their private parts.

Since the 1800s, a few doctors blessed with a working conscience have continuously criticized "early damaging surgeries" on hermaphrodites as motivated by "curiosity rather than surgical judgement" (Reis: Bodies in Doubt, p. 113), but remained sidelined by the less scrupulous of their peers.   

Only in 1993 hermaphrodites themselves began to organise. Aided by the advent of the world wide web, self-help and advocacy groups publicly demand the end of "unwanted surgery" on hermaphrodite children and eventually "human rights".

2004/05 San Francisco Human Rights Commission Hearing and Report

2008/09 UN-CEDAW Shadow Report and 43rd Session Recommendations
"62. The Committee request the State party to enter into dialogue with non-governmental organizations of intersexual [...] people in order to better understand their claims and to take effective action to protect their human rights. [...] Follow-up to concluding observations: 67. The Committee requests the State party to provide, within two years, written information on the steps undertaken to implement the recommendations contained in paragraph [...] 62."

Thanks to Sally Gross of, in 2006 South Africa was one of the very first states to write the existence of the intersexed into law.

However, till today Colombia is still the only nation that since 1999 at least to some extent regulates by law cosmetic genital surgery on hermaphrodite children

Seelenlos a.k.a. Markus Bauer /
Contact: info_at_zwischengeschlecht_dot_org

The human rights advocacy group demands the prohibition of forced genital surgeries on intersexed people and "Human Rights for Hermaphrodites too!"


>>> IOC/IAAF/FIFA: Mandatory Gender Tests, Surgery for Intersexed Athletes

>>> "Hermaphrodites" in sports: IOC and IAAF deny responsibility

>>> Open Letter to IOC      >>> Press Release 16.11.09      >>> Stop Genital Surgery


A. The Struggle against Discrimination of Hermaphrodites in Sport

María José Martínez Patiño (Spain) 1985

Santhi Soundarajan (India) 2006
Times of India, 9.1.07
Reuters, 11.6.09
Time, 1.9.09
BBC, 11.9.09
BBC, 14.9.09
CNN, 14.9.09 
Times of India, 16.9.09
Zeenews, 16.9.09
AP, 19.9.09

Sarah Gronert (Germany) 2007
NY Daily News, 20.3.09
Daily Mail, 29.4.09 
AOL health 


B. Hermaphrodites speaking out in Solidarity with Caster Semenya

Santhi Soundarajan (India):
Time, 1.9.09
BBC, 11.9.09
CNN, 14.9.09
Zeenews, 16.9.09
AP, 19.9.09 

Sally Gross, ISSA (South Africa):[_id]=27334

Julius Kaggwa, SIPD (Uganda): (-> Semenya's Case ...)

Sarah Graham (UK):

Daniela "Nella" Truffer, (Switzerland):

Phoebe Hart and Tony Briffa, AISSG AU (Australia):

Gina Wilson, OII AU (Australia):

Caitlin Petrakis Childs (USA):

Luminis (USA):

Hida Viloria (USA):

Eden Atwood, AISSG Indiana (USA):

Thea Hillman (USA):

Nicky Phillips, AISSG Can (Canada)


C.  Recommended Literature

2014 NGO Report on Intersex Genital Mutilations (IGMs)
and other Human Rights Violations of Children with Variations of Sex Anatomy, to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC), documents 17 current Forms of IGMs,
and Nazi Medical Crimes on Intersex Children in CH, D, A

>>> Download PDF (3.65 MB) 
>>> Executive Summary     >>> Table of Contents


>>> IOC/IAAF/FIFA: Mandatory Gender Tests, Surgery for Intersexed Athletes

>>> "Justice for Santhi Soundarajan and Caster Semenya!"
        Rally against IOC and IAAF, Lausanne, 19.11.2009

>>> Open Letter to IOC Chief Jacques Rogge Re: Treatment of Intersex Athletes   

>>> "Hermaphrodites" in sports: IOC and IAAF deny responsibility

Published on Monday, November 16 2009 by