Martina Navratilova on Allowing Men to Compete Against Women in Sports: ‘It’s Insane and It’s Cheating’

Martina Navratilova
The Associated Press

Tennis great Martina Navratilova reiterated her stand against biological males competing against natural-born women, because the males have a competitive edge.

“It’s insane and it’s cheating,” the famously gay tennis star said in a Sunday op-ed published by the Sunday Times.

“Letting men compete as women simply if they change their name and take hormones is unfair — no matter how those athletes may throw their weight around,” Navratilova said of transgender players’ efforts to be recognized under their “chosen” gender.

“I am happy to address a transgender woman in whatever form she prefers, but I would not be happy to compete against her. It would not be fair,” the Czech-born player wrote.

Her reiterated stand against transgender players comes after what she claimed was months of study on the topic. That study, she said, made her surer than ever that transgenders competing as women was unfair to natural-born women.

“Simply reducing hormone levels — the prescription most sports have adopted — does not solve the problem,” she wrote. “A man builds up muscle and bone density, as well as a greater number of oxygen-carrying red blood cells, from childhood… Training increases the discrepancy.

“Indeed, if a male were to change gender in such a way as to eliminate any accumulated advantage,” Navratilova continued, “he would have to begin hormone treatment before puberty. For me, that is unthinkable.”

Navratilova also took aim at transgender activists who label everyone “transphobes” for opposing transgenders in sports.

Banning transgender players is all about “fairness,” as far as Navratilova is concerned. Players born as men simply have too many advantages, no matter how many hormones they take.

This is far from the first time the 62-year-old player has spoken out against transgender players. Only a few months ago the multiple Wimbledon winner wrote on Twitter that men can’t just “proclaim” themselves a female and then play against real women. “There must be some standards,” she wrote, “and having a penis and competing as a woman would not fit that standard.”

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.


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