Former Wimbledon Champion Martina Navratilova is attacking transgender athletes for the second time by saying it is “insane and cheating” to allow transgender women to compete in women’s sporting tournaments.
Navratilova first received a resounding backlash back in December when she tweeted:
“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.”
The tennis star then deleted the tweet after receiving the backlash and responded to activists including Champion Cyclist Dr. Rachel McKinnon, who had called her out for her transphobic remarks. At the time, Navratilova had apologized and promised to remain quiet on the subject and educate herself.
“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. Thank you,” Navratilova tweeted.
Navratilova is now doubling down on her original statement in an article she penned for The Sunday Times this weekend.
“Well, I’ve now done that and, if anything, my views have strengthened,” Navratilova wrote. “To put the argument at its most basic: a man can decide to be female, take hormones if required by whatever sporting organisation is concerned, win everything in sight and perhaps earn a small fortune, and then reverse his decision and go back to making babies if he so desires.
The former tennis star later said having transgender women compete is “insane” and “cheating” and that she would not want to compete against a transgender woman herself.
“It’s insane and it’s cheating," Navratilova wrote. I am happy to address a transgender woman in whatever form she prefers, but I would not be happy to compete against her. It would not be fair.”
The members of Trans Actual, a UK transgender rights advocacy group, called out Navratilova on Twitter for her transphobic remarks:
We’re pretty devastated to discover that Martina Navratilova is transphobic. If trans women had an advantage in sport, why aren’t trans women winning gold medals left, right & centre? Coz trans women don’t have an advantage. Look up the changes that oestrogen makes to the body.
According to current guidelines established in 2016 by the International Olympic Committee, transgender female athletes have to maintain their testosterone level below a specified cut off point for a period of over one year in order to be allowed to compete. Navratilova feels these standards are not good enough.
“Simply reducing hormone levels – the prescription most sports have adopted – does not solve the problem,” Navratilova wrote. “A man builds up muscle and bone density, as well as a greater number of oxygen-carrying red blood cells, from childhood.”
Dr. Rachel McKinnon responded to Navratilova’s article, calling her statements a “transphobic myth.”
“Martina Navratilova is explicitly peddling a transphobic MYTH of the duplicitous cis man 'faking' being a trans woman in order to gain access to women-only spaces for nefarious purposes.” McKinnon tweeted.
McKinnon also pointed out how difficult it would be for an athlete to transition and then detransition just to gain a sporting advantage by posting nine reasons why (click the tweet to view the entire thread):
Having been born in Czechoslovakia and later becoming an American citizen, Navratilova is considered one of the greatest female tennis players of all time. She won 18 Grand Slam singles titles, 31 major women's doubles titles (an all-time record), and 10 major mixed doubles titles, combined marking the open-era record for the most number of Grand Slam titles won by one player, male or female. She came out as a lesbian in 1981 and married her long term partner Julia Lemigova in 2014.