Martina Navratilova, a gay rights advocate and 18-time Grand Slam tennis singles champion, is no longer an ambassador for Athlete Ally, an LGBT athlete group. She was also removed from the group’s advisory board.
The move comes after Navratilova, who herself is a lesbian, wrote an op-ed for the Sunday Times of London in which she criticized biological men who take hormone treatments and undergo gender-reassignment surgeries as having an advantage in sports over biological women.
“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,” Navratilova wrote.
“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,” she added.
As The Daily Wire’s Emily Zanotti previously reported:
This is not the first time Navratilova has spoken out on the issue. Back in December, she caused similar waves when she tweeted that, "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."
Trans rights groups pushed back on Navratilova’s claims, saying that athletic organizations — such as the International Olympic Committee — have standards for allowing transwomen to compete against biological women.
“Under guidelines introduced by the International Olympic Committee in 2016, trans men are able to compete without restriction, while trans women must demonstrate that their testosterone level has been below a certain cutoff point for at least one year before their first competition,” the Guardian reported. “Previous guidelines, approved in 2003, required transgender athletes to have reassignment surgery followed by at least two years of hormone therapy in order to be eligible to compete.”
Athlete Ally, the group that dropped Navratilova as an ambassador, released a statement to the Guardian regarding its decision:
Athlete Ally unequivocally stands on the side of trans athletes and their right to access and compete in sport free from discrimination. 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.
As an organisation dedicated to addressing root causes of homophobia and transphobia in and through sport, we will only affiliate with those committed to the same goal, and not those who further misinformation or discrimination in any way.
One critic asked if trans women had such an advantage, why weren’t they winning constantly? There have been multiple instances of trans women beating biological women in athletic competitions, including cycling, track and field, and wrestling. It should be noted, however, that the trans woman cycling champion, Rachel McKinnon, had previously lost to third-place finisher and biological woman Jennifer Wagner in 10 of their last 12 races together.