Tennis legend Martina Navratilova says transgender sportswomen are 'cheating' unless they have transitioned

While making a 'critical distinction' between transgender and transsexual athletes, the Wimbledon champion says transgender women have a natural advantage against others


                            Tennis legend Martina Navratilova says transgender sportswomen are 'cheating' unless they have transitioned
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Tennis legend Martina Navratilova has come out strongly to defend the rights of the women's wing in the sport, saying transgender women are "cheating" unless they have undergone surgery to irreversibly change their anatomy.

While 62-year-old Navratilova is happy to address transgender athletes with their preferred pronouns, she isn't okay with them competing unless they have fully transitioned into their new bodies, Daily Mail reports.

WTA Legend Martina Navratilova during the Doubles Draw Ceremony at Marina Bay Sands on October 23, 2018, in Singapore. (Getty Images)
WTA Legend Martina Navratilova during the Doubles Draw Ceremony at Marina Bay Sands on October 23, 2018, in Singapore. (Getty Images)

 

At the end of last year, the nine-time Wimbledon champion had a fierce Twitter row with transgender female cycling champion Rachel McKinnon on the subject.

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Navratilova wrote in the Sunday Times: "To put my argument at its most basic: a man can decide to be female, take hormones if required by whatever sporting organization, win everything in sight and perhaps earn a small fortune, and then reverse his decision and go back to making babies. It's insane and it's cheating."

According to her, one must make a "critical distinction" between former tennis player Renee Richards, who was born Richard Raskind and had gender reassignment surgery, and transgender women like McKinnon who take hormones.

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Nonetheless, she supports Caster Semenya, an "intersex" South African runner who was born a woman but with naturally high testosterone levels.

At the end of last year, the nine-time Wimbledon champion had a fierce Twitter row with transgender female cycling champion Rachel McKinnon (pictured) on the subject. (Twitter)
At the end of last year, the nine-time Wimbledon champion had a fierce Twitter row with transgender female cycling champion Rachel McKinnon (pictured) on the subject. (Twitter)

 

This week, the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) is facing legal action from Semenya, who has called the new rules requiring high testosterone women to take medication to lower them "discriminatory".

Navratilova has strongly campaigned for LGBT rights ever since coming out as a lesbian in 1981. However, she has now hit out at the "tyranny" of trans activists who are blindly dismissive of any external arguments.

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The Czech-born star said that even if transgender women have hormone therapy, they still possess stronger muscles and bones. Furthermore, they will always have an innate advantage against other gender-conforming women as they biologically have higher levels of oxygen-carrying red blood cells.

Caster Semenya of South Africa celebrates after winning gold in the Women's 800 meters final during athletics on day nine of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games at Carrara Stadium on April 13, 2018, on the Gold Coast, Australia. (Getty Images)
Caster Semenya of South Africa celebrates after winning gold in the Women's 800 meters final during athletics on day nine of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games at Carrara Stadium on April 13, 2018, on the Gold Coast, Australia. (Getty Images)

 

In December 2018, Navratilova launched her first assault on radical trans activists. "You can't proclaim yourself a female and be able to compete against women," she wrote on Twitter. At the time, she faced outrage from Rachel McKinnon, the first transgender woman to win a female world cycling title.

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The 35-year-old McKinnon, who still has her male anatomy intact but claims to be a woman, accused Navratilova of transphobia and demanded an apology from her. Coming to grips with her outrage, the cyclist wrote afterward, "I still can't believe she said this... to me of all people."

After facing a severe backlash from critics, major sporting bodies such as the International Olympic Committee, Rugby Football Union and British Cycling are reviewing their policies to eliminate any unfair advantage that transgender athletes may have in competition.