11/13/2009 05:12 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Yin/Yang: An Intersexed South African Runner As Symbol Of The Universal


The militant Youth League of South Africa's ruling African National Congress (ANC) said in a statement: "Even if a test is done, the ANC YL will never accept the categorization of Caster Semenya as a hermaphrodite, because in South Africa and the entire world of sanity, such does not exist."

It is amazing that this hasn't come up before (I'm not a sports follower so I don't really know if it has come up before). There are people in the world who are intersexed and transgendered - it isn't that uncommon. The difference is that they usually aren't tested to the degree that Caster Semenya has been and then blasted all over the mainstream media. There are also many people with non-normal ranges of hormones, on both sides of the equation. Sadly, many people in these situations don't find out until another medical issues come to light. It can cause long-standing problems in both personal and professional lives.

In some cultures, over the millennia, inter-sexed people have even been revered as shamans and holy people - they are closer to the ideal of a balanced, universal soul. Think of the Yin/Yang symbol. We all know it. It means 'balance' - male/female balance. Look at the picture above. This is Shiva and Shakti, the male and female representation of God/Goddess in India. Both are a manifestation of 'One Spirit'. It is actually an ideal way of being that is sought after by those who would attain enlightenment.

Being more balanced in this way (not being 'excessively' female or male) has its benefits. Often in many relationships the woman can be overly 'feminine'. She may not be willing to do any of the traditionally 'male' role model jobs like change a tire or take out the garbage. Some men refuse to cook, help with cleaning or change a diaper.

Sticking to gender defined roles like this is constraining to a person's personal growth and development. It can mean that you give up a large portion of yourself that needs to learn balance and a universal fairness. When a woman gives away the power that represent the male side of herself she can fall into life situations where she is controlled, abused and kept quiet. When she embodies only the 'fairer sex' attributes she may fall under a man's influence that is not to her benefit. When a man refuses to do 'woman's work' it can impair his intimacy skills, compassion and caring. Within reason, it is very wise to embody a bit of both worlds.

Few people are as gender neutral as Caster Semenya seems and this must simply offend some people's sensibilities. But we can never know what we don't know so just because we don't understand or don't have a complete picture of something we shouldn't demonize it or ridicule it. Yes, South Africa, and all the rest of the world, too, there is such a thing as an intersexed person. How that is treated in the world of sports is a whole other, new learning experience.

Let's hope we get creative and don't blow this one. Blessings to you Caster Semenya.

Suzie Heumann is the founder of She studies, writes, has authored three books and makes films about conscious sex, Tantra and the Kama Sutra. Check out Premium for the most comprehensive tantra training available on the Internet!