LGBT group cuts ties with tennis star Martina Navratilova over transgender comments

LGBT group cuts ties with tennis star Martina Navratilova over transgender comments

Martina Navratilova has been dropped by Athlete Ally, an organisation that supports LGBT+ athletes, following her comments on transgender inclusion.

Wimbledon champion Navratilova, who has campaigned for gay rights and suffered abuse when she came out in the 1980s, argued trans women have unfair physical advantages.

"Hundreds of athletes who have changed gender by declaration and limited hormone treatment have already achieved honours as women that were beyond their capabilities as men, especially in sports in which power rather than skill is paramount", Navratilova said.

In a lengthy statement, prominent LGBTQ athletics advocacy group Athlete Ally confirmed that it has officially broke off its affiliation with Navratilova. "Punishing her for raising questions is shameful".

"In late December, she made deeply troubling comments across her social media channels about the ability for trans athletes to compete in sport", Athlete Ally said.

"Athlete Ally unequivocally stands on the side of trans athletes and their right to access and compete in sport free from discrimination", the organization said in a statement. Coz trans women don't have an advantage. A 2015 study of eight male-to-female trans runners found their race times slowed down to an extent that they retained no advantage over non-trans women.

"There is no evidence at all that the average trans woman is any bigger, stronger, or faster than the average cisgender woman - but there is evidence that often when athletes lower testosterone through hormone replacement therapy, performance goes down".

In her op-ed, Navratilova referred to a tweet where she wrote, "You can't just proclaim yourself a female and be able to compete against women".

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"There must be some standards, and having a penis and competing as a woman would not fit that standard", she said.

The tennis legend, who is herself a lesbian, was very disappointed by the criticism she received from McKinnon, noting that those in the trans community appear to be increasingly unable to engage in civil debate.

Under guidelines introduced by the International Olympic Committee in 2016, athletes transitioning from female to male are allowed to participate in events without restrictions.

Those comments led to her becoming embroiled in an online argument with cyclist Rachel McKinnon, the first transgender woman to win a world track cycling title in October 2018.

Scientific research into trans people in sport is rare.

Navratilova rejected accusations of transphobia, adding that she deplores "what seems to be a growing tendency among transgender activists to denounce anyone who argues against them and to label them all as 'transphobes'".

She also points to her friendship with Renee Richards, the transgender woman who fought to compete in the 1976 U.S. Open after undergoing male-to-female sex reassignment surgery.

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