The treatment of 18-year-old champion runner Caster Semenya by the International Association of Athletic Federations (IAAF) left me scratching my head. How could officials publicly call into question Caster's sex, knowing the profoundly personal nature of the matter? Their actions were so degrading that Caster was rumored to be in hiding after the tests reportedly revealed that she was intersex. Well here's one way to understand how officials could take such an irresponsible approach: international bodies that govern competitive sports lack appropriate guidelines for dealing with ambiguous sex cases.
Hoping to address this problem, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) will gather medical experts at an international conference charged with creating guidelines for such cases. It might be a difficult task, but at least they can look at Caster's case as an example of what not to do.
This meeting will be held during the World Conference on Hormonal and Genetic Basis of Sexual Differentiation Disorders, and IOC officials say that there should be a focus on the privacy of competitors whose sex has been called into question. Let's hope so.