It's been hard not to cringe watching the fallout from Caster Semenya's extraordinary 800m win in Berlin. Everything about the way she's been treated and reported on has been wrong, wrong, wrong.
It started with the assumption that an athlete so talented couldn't possibly be a woman. Now that testing has confirmed Semenya is intersex, cringeworthy headlines and comments are popping up all over the place: 'Caster Semenya's sex stripped bare' on Stuff; a comment by Peirre Weiss, the International Association of Athletics Federation secretary general, that "It is clear that she is a woman, but maybe not 100 per cent"; and this Daily Telegraph article, which is so disgraceful that I'm not going to quote it.
What's surprising about Semenya's story is not that an intersex woman is competing at the highest level in athletics, but - as a representative of Intersex Awareness New Zealand pointed out - that the sporting fraternity seems so unprepared to handle the jandal. Semenya surely isn't the first intersex person to complete, and certainly won't be the last. But the world of sport is like the wider world in that regard - neatly divided into a binary, and hostile to those who don't fit exactly on either side of the dividing line. Semenya's story is a reminder of the callousness and lack of understanding with which those who don't meet gender expectations are sometimes treated.
I'm not sure how best intersex can be included in sport, but the answer is surely not to require them to go through public testing regimes, like Caster Semanya, while a sneering media looks on. In all the excited attention to the intimate details of Semanya's biology, the fact that she's an extraordinary sportswoman - and, more importantly, a human being with feelings - has been sadly overlooked.