'This is common sense': Martina Navratilova's idea of 'open category' for trans athletes hailed!

'If Lia Thomas wins, there should be an asterisk next to her name': the tennis legend had said on the trans swimmer's wins


                            'This is common sense': Martina Navratilova's idea of 'open category' for trans athletes hailed!
Martina Navratilova (R) said there should be an asterisk next to Lia Thomas's name when she wins (Penn Athletics/ Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)
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Martina Navratilova has been applauded by the Internet for condemning rules that allow trans swimmers like Lia Thomas to compete against women. In an interview on Thursday, March 17, Navratilova, who is one of the first openly lesbian sportswomen, suggested that when transgender swimmers win women's races, they should have an 'asterisk' next to their name because "the rules are not correct."

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Navratilova's comments came after Thomas, a University of Pennsylvania swimmer, won an NCAA national championship race in the 500-yard freestyle on Thursday. Thomas defeated Virginia freshman Emma Weyant by 1.75 seconds with a time of 4:33.24. The tennis legend's interview was aired on News Nation. After competing as a man for three years for the University, Thomas came out of the closet and identified that she was trans and went on to compete in the women's category. She will also compete in the 200-yard and 100-yard NCAA championships later this week.

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On Thursday, March 17, Navratilova trashed the NCAA rules and said the national organization needs to level the playing field for its athletes. “It’s not about excluding transgender women from winning ever. But it is about not allowing them to win when they were not anywhere near winning as men," she said. “But right now, the rules are what they are. Maybe put an asterisk there, if she starts breaking records left and right,” said Navratilova, referring to Thomas.

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 Lia Thomas poses on the podium after winning the 100 yard freestyle during the 2022 Ivy League Womens Swimming and Diving Championships at Blodgett Pool on February 19, 2022 in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
(Photo by Kathryn Riley/Getty Images)

The 65-year-old tennis champion suggested that the NCAA could have one category where only biological females compete against each other, then adopt 'an open category' for everyone else. She said significant questions would be raised if Thomas continues to dominate the sport after college. "If she starts breaking records left and right, Lia goes to the Olympics, hmm... Because she is hitting her prime now, physically. And in the future maybe there should be an open category for everyone, and then for biological females. So trans women can compete, but they'll compete against men. And trans men have a choice."

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"You try to keep it as close as possible to what it would had been, were you born in the female biological body in the first place," Navratilova said. "And even saying that, people take exception to — biological female. People don't even want to use those words. I don't know what else to say. Other than that."

 Martina Navratilova is one of the first openly lesbian sportswoman (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

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Internet lauds tennis legend

Navratilova's remark is generating polarizing opinions among Internet users. Many supported her opinion and agreed that a transgender or other gender category should be created to make the competition fair. One wrote, "I agree. This is just common sense. In sports, 'equality' is competitive fairness, and that's it". Another tweeted, "And no records that Thomas sets should be entered into official records for the womens category. We need an open division for those who opt out of their own sex category". Supporting Navratilova's open category idea, one user tweeted, "#opencategory is the best idea yet. Kudos to @Martina for publicly daring to voice a brilliant solution. We should all listen".

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"How about we create transgender sports instead of having males competes in women's sports", another wrote. One user also commented, "She’s not wrong. The girls were handicapped by a girl who was more muscular, had a larger wingspan, tighter hips, aerodynamic chest.. the list goes on. HE is NOT a girl. He can 'affiliate' all he wants but competitive wise. It’s not the same person."

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But there were some who thought that Navratilova was being sexist. A user tweeted, "Honey sexism is not a cute look" and went on to write, "Why should a female not be allowed to compete against other females?". One person also asked if Navratilova was jealous of Thomas' achievements, the user wrote, "Martina jealous?"

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