The nine-time Wimbledon champion and gay rights activist, Martina Navratilova said rules in some sports that allowed transgender women to compete in women’s tournaments were “insane”, and that she would not want to play against a trans athlete. She has reignited debate about how transgender athletes compete at the elite level.
Responding to a question from one of her followers about transgender women in sport, Navratilova said: “Clearly that can’t be right. You can’t just proclaim yourself a female and be able to compete against women. There must be some standards, and having a penis and competing as a woman would not fit that standard.”
She also said: “For me it’s all about fairness. Which means taking every case individually… there is no cookie cutter way of doing things.”
Her comments were seized upon by Dr Rachel McKinnon, a transgender activist and competitive cyclist who this year controversially won a women’s event at the UCI Masters Track World Championship. Rachel McKinnon quickly hit back and called the comments “disturbing, upsetting and deeply transphobic”.
No, you are not "pro- trans people" if you say that trans women with a penis must not compete in women's sport. That's transphobic.
Genitals do not play sports. What part of a penis is related to tennis? How does that 'level' any playing field? https://t.co/h7ZLsCVOQy
— Dr. Rachel McKinnon (@rachelvmckinnon) December 20, 2018
Medical experts have proven that being a trans women does not necessarily give them an advantage in many sports. Experts have also said trans women who regularly take estrogen do not have an advantage.
The backlash to Navratilova’s comments was swift and now Athlete Ally has cut ties with the star.
Athlete Ally works to end homophobia and transphobia across all sports in the United States. It does this through education programs and lobbying for policy change.
They said in a recent statement that “Martina Navratilova’s recent comments on trans athletes are transphobic, based on a false understanding of science and data, and perpetuate dangerous myths that lead to the ongoing targeting of trans people through discriminatory laws, hateful stereotypes and disproportionate violence.”
Navratilova’s recent comments are transphobic, based on a false data, and perpetuate dangerous myths that lead to the ongoing targeting of trans people. She has been removed from our Advisory Board and as an Athlete Ally Ambassador, effective immediately. https://t.co/A1taa40ihv
— Athlete Ally (@AthleteAlly) February 19, 2019
Initially, Navratilova said: “I am sorry if I said anything anywhere near transphobic, certainly I meant no harm. I will educate myself better on this issue but meantime I will be quiet about it.” She also deleted the original tweet.
Source – telegraph.co.uk, bbc.com