Semenya: I accept myself
South Africa's world 800m champion Caster Semenya said the gender debate that has erupted around her is "a joke", in an interview with a South African magazine that posed her in a fashion shoot.
"I see it all as a joke, it doesn't upset me. God made me the way I am and I accept myself. I am who I am and I'm proud of myself," she told You magazine, South Africa's biggest-selling English-language magazine.
Semenya appeared on the cover of the magazine's latest edition, but the masculine runner's makeover in stilettos and liquid skinny jeans only served to revive the national debate about gender and what it means to be a woman.
The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) announced shortly before her win at the World Athletics Championships in Berlin last month that the 18-year-old would have to undergo a barrage of tests aimed at verifying her gender.
"I don't want to talk about the tests - I'm not even thinking about them," she told the magazine.
"When I was in Berlin, I called my parents and said I'd heard people were talking about me. I told them not to listen to any of it. They know me and they know who I am."
She told the magazine that she wished she had more opportunity to change out of her track gear, but the photo shoot fuelled the flames of the debate about gender roles.
"It's amazing how, in order to accept her, we have to turn her into our stereotypical image of what a woman should be," Colleen Lowe Morna of the advocacy group Gender Links said in The Times newspaper.
"Let Caster be Caster!" she said.
The magazine said it was under restrictions that prevented staff from commenting on the shoot.