Navratilova Claims Transgenders In Sport Is 'Cheating'
Tennis icon Martina Navratilova has sparked heated debate after writing a new column in The Sunday Times claiming transgender athletes have no place in women's sport.
The 18-time grand slam champ claimed:
"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,"
"It’s insane and it’s cheating. 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."
A number of transgender athletes have slammed Navratilova, claiming she is ill-informed and transphobic.
However, Navratilova has rejected the claims as her former coach and good friend Renee Richards was one of the first athletes to identify as transgender.
Canadian cyclist Rachel McKinnon, a World Masters champion, who transitioned in her late 20s, described the comments as "disturbing, upsetting, and deeply transphobic"
But Navratilova has also received support from a group called 'Fair Play For Women', which descibes itself as a "grassroots campaign group made up of ordinary women from all walks of life who have come together to fight for women’s and girls’ sex-based rights. We are a non-partisan collective of women, with no formal links to any particular political networks."
On Facebook, the group backed Navratilova and compared the advantages gained by some transgender athletes to taking steroids.
"Two important issues raised by Martina today 1) Current trans eligibility rule is not fit for purpose 2) Anyone raising concerns will face incredible backlash," the group posted on Twitter.
"We are calling on sports policy leaders to work with us. Good evidence-based policy making is the solution. We can help."
"We don't let women train on performance enhancing steroids and then wash them out before competition. The same concept must apply to transwomen who wish to play sport. If not your policy will be unfairly discriminating against females."