Tuesday, January 21, 2020
Tennis

Martina Navratilova criticised over ‘cheating’ trans women comments

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The former Wimbledon champion Martina Navratilova is criticised for “disturbing, upsetting, and deeply transphobic” comments after she argued that allowing transgender women to compete in women’s sporting tournaments was “insane and cheating”.

The tennis player and gay rights campaigner first drew criticism from equalities activists and trans athletes when she tweeted in December: “You can’t just proclaim your own female and also compete against women. There ought to be some standards, and getting a penis and competing as the woman wouldn’t normally fit that standard.”

Writing inside Sunday Times, Navratilova said she had subsequently promised to help keep quiet about them until she had done some investigation about it. “Well, I’ve now done that will, contrary, my views have strengthened,” she wrote.

“To assemble the argument at its most elementary: someone can commit to be female, take hormones if need be by whatever sporting organisation is involved, win my way through sight as well as perhaps earn your fortune, then reverse his decision and resume making babies if he so desires.

“It’s insane and it’s also cheating. My business is willing to address a transgender woman in whatever form she prefers, even so may not be willing to compete against her. It would not be fair.”

Her comments attracted criticism across advertising and marketing. “We’re pretty devastated to determine that Martina Navratilova is transphobic,” tweeted the rights group Trans Actual. “If trans women had an edge in sport, why aren’t trans women winning gold medals left, right and centre?”

Under guidelines designed by the International Olympic Committee in 2019, trans these are in the position to compete without restriction, while trans women must show their testosterone level has been below a specific cutoff point for a minimum of 1 year before their first competition.

Previous guidelines, approved in 2003, required transgender athletes to have reassignment surgery pursued by no less than a couple of years of hormone therapy so that you are qualified to compete.

“Simply reducing hormonal changes – the prescription most sports have adopted – won’t solve the problem,” wrote Navratilova. “A man accumulates muscle and bone strength and density, as well as a greater range of oxygen-carrying red blood cells, from childhood.”

Following her comments in December, Navratilova was criticised by Rachel McKinnon, a Canadian academic and cyclist, who in October had become the first transgender woman to win a track world title.

“McKinnon has vigorously defended her to compete, indicating that, when tested, her variety of testosterone, the man hormone, were within the limits set by world cycling’s governing body,” wrote Navratilova on Sunday. “Nevertheless, at 6ft tall and weighing in excess of 14 stone, she perceived to have a very substantial advantage in lean muscle over her rivals.”

The tennis star said she had been “pretty put out” by McKinnon’s accusation they was transphobic and said she deplored “what looks like it’s a growing tendency among transgender activists to denounce anybody who argues against them”.

She pointed to her friendship with Rene Richards, the transgender tennis player who campaigned as a way to compete in the women’s US Open, and her support for Caster Semenya, who may be fighting a lawful find it hard to manage to compete if you don’t take testosterone-suppressing medication.

In a press release towards Guardian, McKinnon described Navratilova’s article as “disturbing, upsetting, and deeply transphobic”. “She trades on age-old stereotypes and stigma against trans women, treating us as men just pretending actually women. She seeks to deny trans women equal rights to compete underneath the rules,” she said.

“And the actual rules, like the International Olympic Committee since 2003, explicitly welcomes trans women to compete on the highest levels. Maybe it’s an excessive amount to inquire about Martina to simply perform same.”

Following McKinnon’s win inside the women’s 35-44 sprint throughout the UCI Masters Track Cycling World Championships in Los Angeles in October, Jennifer Wagner, who came third inside race, complained that the result was unfair.

McKinnon responded by saying Wagner had beaten her in 10 in their last 12 races. “This is the thing that the double bind for trans women looks like: when we finally win, for the reason that we’re transgender and it’s also unfair,” she said. “When we lose, none of us notices (and it’s also because we’re just not so good anyway). Regardless if it is the same racer. That is what transphobia appears like.”

A spokesperson for any LGBT rights charity Stonewall said: “Sport need to be welcoming to everyone, including trans people. We must have clubs and authorities, because the experts, to look at how their sports’ individual policies could work for being as inclusive as is possible, along with what advice and guidance they’re giving to make sure that anybody, including trans people, normally takes part in sport.”

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