On Wednesday, a Fox News chyron described Caster Semenya, a Black cisgender Olympian as transgender. The incident occurred shortly after Semenya was denied an appeal in a case where she’s been mandated to alter her naturally occuring high testosterone levels in order to compete.
Semeyna has been the subject of recent reports because of her hormone levels. The 28-year-old had been told she needed to lower her testosterone levels, a decision that she appealed to the International Association of Athletics Federation’s Court of Arbitration. They dismissed that appeal saying that “such discrimination is a necessary, reasonable and proportionate means of achieving the IAAF’s aim of preserving the integrity of female athletes.”
In its coverage of the decision, which Semenya is already considering appealing again, Fox News ran the chyron “Transgender runner loses court appeal.” But Semenya is cisgender and assigned female at birth. It’s just that she, like other people before her, has varying hormone levels.
The reported Carley Shimkus also repeated the claim on screen. “A transgender Olympic runner, loses her court appeal about testosterone levels in female athletes,” she said, before going into the news.
Shimkus apologized today for the comment. “In that story we said she is transgender, she is not,” Shimkus said. “We apologize for that error.” Many believe that the ruling on Semenya, who is hyperandrogynous according to CNN, will have ramifications for trans athletes in the future.