Annet Negasa, the intersex athlete whose monstrous $ 900 operation ruined her career

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The Ugandan was one of the promises of athletics. They told him that he could not compete again for the high levels of testosterone. And he decided to undergo surgery, which not only ended up being invasive and irreversible, but it was an experiment.

Other Negesa She was the best athlete in Uganda and the young cross-country athlete that made Africa proud. In 2011, he had achieved national records in the 800 and 1,500 meters and won the silver medal in the All-Africa Games. And in 2012, at just 20 years old, he was part of the delegation from his country that would go to the London Olympics. But one day all that was taken from him: the Olympic dream, sport and his physical integrity. The reason? Ser intersexual.

Many might think of her as “the other” Caster Semenya, but it’s actually side B of the two-time Olympic champion. Because Negesa, with the same hyperandrogenism as the South African, she faced that reality alone – until then unknown – without support or advice, and ended up undergoing a gonadectomia that changed his life.

The story goes back to 2012, precisely the year in which his last official participation appears on the World Athletics website, the same international athletics federation that forced her to have surgery.

Negesa last ran the 800 meters at the Blankers-Koen Stadium in the Dutch city of Hengelo on May 27, when he set the national record (1m59s08). There were 73 days to go until the 800-meter series at London’s Olympic Stadium. But the Ugandan woman never came.

Weeks before traveling to England, he received a call from his manager. It was short and blunt: she informed her that she was not going to the Olympics and that she had to say publicly that she was injured. While digesting confused and in shock This news, he soon received another call: a member of the International Athletics Federation informed him that her testosterone levels were high and had to undergo hormonal treatment to compete again.

What no one explained to Annet Negesa then was that it is intersexual, what was previously known as a hermaphrodite. The Ugandan woman was born as a woman and with external female genitalia but also internal male genitality, which caused her to generate high levels of testosterone, the male hormone.

According to the “Guide for the responsible journalistic treatment of gender identities, sexual orientation and intersexuality” of the Public Defender of Argentina, all those whose sexual characteristics vary with respect to the male / female average are classified as intersex, including chromosomes, genitalia and / or bodily features.

Intersex is not a disease -they emphasize-: it is one more expression of corporal diversity. And as intersex they can have any gender identity, sexual orientation and gender expression. “

So, those intersex can be women, men, trans, straight or pansexual. What identifies them is that they do not conform to the typical characteristics of the female or male sex.

Without containment and pressured by an organization that does not take care of its athletes but publicly exposes them and discriminates against them, Negesa accepted an invasive and irreversible surgery. But what was revealed later was that it was actually part of an experiment.

The podcast “And who killed the cat?” (Spotify) has an episode called: “Where is it written that testosterone makes you a champion?” It focuses on women’s football, but it also highlights the case of Semenya and leaves an observation that opens one to think: “Does someone measure the length of an athlete’s legs?” On the other hand, sex tests have existed for more than 50 years, which shows that sports disciplines do not accompany diversity“.

The first sex test it was made in 1966 at the European Athletics Championships in Budapest. Women had to submit naked to a physical examination performed by a group of specialists, who were usually male. And the polish Ewa KłobukowskaOlympic champion of the 4×100 meters and bronze in the 100 in Tokyo 1964, she was the first to fail it in 1967.

Although the procedures were later found to be inadequate – in fact, Kłobukowska became a mother a year later – her case prompted the International Olympic Committee to conduct its sex verification, through a sample of the oral mucosa, which was mandatory for athletes in Mexico 1968.

Although the methods were changing, those tests that only affected women remained until Atlanta 1996. From then on, those who must “prove” that they are not men are those athletes whose physiques do not respond to the hegemonic vision of how a woman should look physically and who generally obtain outstanding performances.

Annet Negesa, without a doubt, entered that group for World Athletics and, according to the documentary that the chain ARD German published last year, it was part of an experiment It was led by Dr. Stéphane Bermon, director of the Department of Health and Science of the former IAAF.


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