Does Gender Decide The Treatment?

Pinki Pramanik has been in the news for the past few days but I know, you have been wondering just like me, “Who is Pinki Pramanik?”

I first heard her name when my brother was reading the newspaper and asked me, “Is she male or female?”

This made me look her up on Google and check out the whole controversy surrounding her. And here is what I found…

Pinki Pramanik is an Indian athlete who specialises in 400 metres and 800 metres. She has won silver medal at the 2006 Commonwealth Games, gold at the 2006 Asian Games, and gold at the 2005 Asian Indoor Games. She has also won three gold medals at the 2006 South Asian Games.

She has been in the news for days now, the reason being that her female friend filed rape allegations against her. This led to medical tests, to determine her gender.

Is Pinki being questioned just because she is a sports person and known for her achievements? This could be a publicity stunt played by Pinki’s friend. Can’t it? She has been in the field of sports since she was seventeen, and various dope tests have been conducted when she was competing. Dope tests are conducted in the presence of a same sex official, and the athlete has to strip waist down. Why were no questions raised then?

Here is what Pinki said about these allegations, “The girl who made these allegations was not my partner and we were not in love. She used to live next door on rent with her lover and her five-year-old child. She had taken nude photographs of me and was threatening to make them public. She had been blackmailing me for some time. But to be accused of being male and raping her, shocked me. I am not male. I have always been female.”

This is not the first time an athlete has been questioned about her gender, even the South African athlete, Caster Semenya was questioned. Following her victory at the 2009 World Championships, she was subjected to gender testing.  This is not all, she was made to withdraw from the international competition until 6 July 2010.

On the other hand, Pinki is quite humiliated, and is seeking help from Mamta Bannerjee.

Why weren’t these questions raised before? The sports organizations conduct various other tests on these athletes. then why is Pinki being humiliated like this in public?

Even if Pinki is male, her private life should be treated with respect. The police department has no rights to circulate nude pictures of her. The whole case reflects the insensitivity of the Indian society.

Pinki, whether a man, a woman or a person of indeterminate gender, deserves to be treated with dignity.

Shraddha Jandial

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