Star Athlete Genoveva Anonma Claims She Was ‘forced to strip to prove she was a woman.’

Genoveva Anonma

In 2012, Genoveva Anonma of Equatorial Guinea was named Africa’s female Footballer of the Year for her powerhouse plays on the field, but the star athlete recently revealed the intense humiliation that she was forced to endure, due to questions about her gender. From about 2006-2008 rumors had swirled about that Anonma, among other players on her elite team, were actually biologically male.

In 2010 Anonma responded to claims by rival teams that her team had been “gender cheating” by stating,

“I have already been (gender) tested, which I find offensive.

“These accusations come because I am fast and strong, but I know that I am definitely a woman!”

Recently Anonma clarified just what “gender testing” meant. She recently revealed in an interview with BBC News that in 2008, after scoring a winning goal against Nigeria, and securing a win for her team in the Africa Cup, she was accused of “gender cheating,” and forced to “prove” that she was a woman. Anonma was made to strip naked in front of a panel of Confederation of African Football (CAF) officials. She also added that she wasn’t blood tested as part of the gender inquiry.

This revelation calls to mind the accusations leveled against South African runner Caster Semenya in 2009. Semenya endured worldwide humiliation as news of her gender inquiry was reported internationally. While the situation was framed as a rare oddity in the world of sports, others looked critically at the racist, sexist, implications of gender testing. The most recent “gender testing” controversies have involved black African women, and in one case an Indian woman. In some cases the women’s behavior, or their style of dress was stated by as “proof” of their gender deception. Such observations are grounded in historically baseless and ignorant stereotypes about gender and race.

As Kai Wright pointed out the The Root,

We cling to this lie of binary genders for the same reason we fantasize about the essential nature of race: to make unjust social hierarchies seem natural. But they’re not. They’re man-made, and competitive sports have long been a tool for keeping them in place.