Skip to main site content.
Former player Martina Navratilova arrives at the training courts on the eighth day of the 2018 Wimbledon Championships at The All England Lawn Tennis Club in Wimbledon, southwest London, on July 10, 2018. (OLI SCARFF/AFP/Getty Images)
Former player Martina Navratilova arrives at the training courts on the eighth day of the 2018 Wimbledon Championships at The All England Lawn Tennis Club in Wimbledon, southwest London, on July 10, 2018. (OLI SCARFF/AFP/Getty Images)

'Cheating'

Tennis legend Martina Navratilova criticized for transgender ‘cheating’ remarks

By WITW Staff on February 19, 2019

Tennis great Martina Navratilova has denounced efforts to allow transgender women to compete professionally against other women as “insane and cheating,” attracting criticism from transgender-rights activists, including at least one transgender woman athlete.

In an Op-Ed for The Sunday Times, Navratilova wrote that men who transitioned to being women would have a competitive advantage in most sports due to added the muscle and bone density they had developed since childhood.

“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,” said the legendary tennis star. “To put the argument at its most basic: a man can decide to be female, take hormones if required by whatever sporting organization 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.”

Navratilova also hit out at Canadian trans cyclist Rachel McKinnon, 35, and others who she said targeted her with an “onslaught” of tweets branding her a bigot after she previously spoke on the issue of transgender professional athletes on Twitter. McKinnon won the women’s 35-44 sprint at the track cycling world championships in 2018, just six years after transitioning.

“At 6ft tall and weighing more than 14 stone, she appeared to have a substantial advantage in muscle mass over her rivals,” wrote Navratilova of McKinnon. “She accused me of being ‘transphobic’ and demanded I delete my tweet and apologize. I also deplore what seems to be a growing tendency among transgender activists to denounce anyone who argues against them and to label them all as ’transphobes.’ That’s just another form of tyranny.”

In her comments, the 18-time Grand Slam winner added that she had no problem with allowing people with intersex conditions to compete with women. In particular, she said, she wanted to lend her full support to South African gold-medal winning runner Caster Semenya, who has been repeatedly targeted with measures either banning her from competition or mandating hormone therapy by the International Association of Athletics Foundations.

“Semenya and many others have been subject to vilification, ostracism and the awful human inclination to identify anyone who is different and start a witch hunt,” she said. “I had problems of that kind myself when I came out as gay in 1981, and it hurt, terribly.”

Read the full story at The Independent.

Related

Transgender weightlifter under fire from competitors after qualifying for Commonwealth Games

Transgender teen, prohibited from competing on boys’ wrestling team, wins girls’ title

Female transgender Olympic athletes have no advantage over cisgender female athletes