Tennis great and Lesbian sporting hero, Martina Navratilova, has found herself facing criticism, after saying Transgender athletes have an unfair advantage when competing in women’s sports.
Martina Navratilova’s comments sparked outrage after suggesting that women who were born male should not be allowed to compete in women’s sports events.
The former Wimbledon champion and LGBT campaigner made the statement while replying to a question on twitter and was quickly accused of being “transphobic.”
In answering a question put to her about Transgender women participating in female sport, Navratilova responded by saying “Clearly that can’t be right. 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.”
Among those criticising Navratolova was Dr Rachel McKinnon, a transgender cyclist who replied to Navatilova’s tweet by saying “Genitals do not play sports. What part of a penis is related to tennis? How does that ‘level’ any playing field?
Initially Navratilova apologised, saying “I am sorry if I said anything anywhere near transphobic – certainly I meant no harm. I will educate myself better on this issue but meantime I will be quiet about it.” She also deleted the original tweet.
However, after receiving a stream of critical messages from McKinnon, Navratilova hit back: “Rachel, you might be an expert on all things trans but you are one nasty human being.”
She said that she did not regret her remark and would not be “bullied” into silence, but would exit the twitter thread “because it seems to be my decades of speaking out against unfairness and inequality just don’t count with you at all.”
Navratilova came out as a lesbian in 1981 and has been a vocal supporter of LGBT rights. In 2017, she wrote an open letter criticising Margaret Court, the former world number one, for “demonising Trans kids and Trans adults” by claiming that gender dysphoria was the work of the devil.