Over the weekend, Olympic medalist Sharron Davies sided with tennis legend and gay advocate Martina Navratilova regarding the downsides of transgender women’s involvement in women’s sports. Davies underscored why it creates an unfair advantage when biological males who identify as female compete against biological girls and women — and she unsurprisingly took her share of heat online for doing so.
However, Davies, thus far, is refusing to back down. The accomplished former swimmer appeared on “Good Morning Britain” on Monday to defend her position against male sociology professor Ellis Cashmore, who argued that biological females should get used to competing against transgender females in the name of inclusivity and equality.
On Friday, Davies tweeted, “I have nothing against anyone who wishes [to] be transgender. However I believe there is a fundamental difference between the binary sex u r born with & the gender u may identify as. To protect women’s sport those with a male sex advantage should not be able [to] compete in women’s sport.”
“Please please take a look & tell me how this is not going to negatively effect women’s sport?” Davies wrote, posting a meme that highlights recent transgender athletes cleaning up against biological girls and women in their respective sports.
Trans activists were not pleased with Davies:
Speaking to BBC Sport the following day, Davies emphasized that it’s not “transphobic” to speak up for biological girls.
“It is not a transphobic thing — I really want to say we have no issue with people who are transgender,” she said. “Every single woman athlete I’ve spoken to, and I have spoken to many, all of my friends in international sports, understand and feel the same way as me.”
Davies added that she felt a responsibility upon herself to speak out on the issue for women and girls currently competing who feel they cannot out of fear of backlash.
“Unfortunately, a lot of people who are in the races [now] are in a very difficult predicament when they can’t speak out. It maybe falls to the people who were competing [in the past] who would understand the predicament that is being faced at the moment to try to create a debate, and try to explain how we feel there needs to be a fair and level playing field,” she said.
Davies held her position on Monday morning, too, taking on professor Cashmore over the issue.
“If you go through puberty, you have all the benefits of having a male body … the bone structure, the slightly bigger heart, more red blood cells … We need to support biological females, as well,” explained Davies.
“There’s the word gender and then there’s the word sex,” the former swimmer continued. “I think sex means the biological sex that you were born into, and that is going to effect you the rest of your life because that is your DNA — your XY chromosome or your XX chromosomes — and you’re not gonna lose that whatever you’re given or whatever you suppress.”