Tennis icon Martina Navratilova said that transgender swimmer Lia Thomas, a biological man living as a woman, should have an “asterisk” next to his name.
Speaking with News Nation, Navratilova, an openly lesbian woman, said that the asterisk would be a qualifier if Thomas or others like him suddenly start smashing records and beating women left and right.
Lia Thomas goes 4:33:82 in the 500 prelims at the NCAA Championships which is a new top time in the nation this year.
Pat Forde's Olympian daughter has her work cut out for her later tonight in the finals. pic.twitter.com/QLbsHgMDKB
— Joe Kinsey (@JoeKinseyexp) March 17, 2022
“It’s not about excluding transgender women from winning ever,” said the 59-time Grand Slam champion. “But it is about not allowing them to win when they were not anywhere near winning as men.”
“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 continued. “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.”
Navratilova said a solution might be allowing them to compete but not allowing them to take home the gold.
“Because the rules are not correct. But right now, the rules are what they are,” she said. “Maybe put an asterisk there.”
“And in the future maybe there should be an open category for everyone, and then for biological females,” she added. “So trans women can compete, but they’ll compete against men.bAnd trans men have a choice.”
Transgender UPenn Swimmer Lia Thomas. (JOSEPH PREZIOSO/AFP via Getty Images)
Navratilova said this would allow biological men and women to compete against each other in their own category while allowing others to compete in the “open” category.
Navratilova’s suggestions came just as Thomas beat out two silver medal Olympians to win the 500 freestyle national championship in Atlanta, Georgia. Thomas concluded the race with a season-best of 4:33.24, beating out female Virginia freshman swimmer Emma Weyant (4:34.99) and Erica Sullivan, who won a silver medal in the 1500-meter freestyle at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic games. Finishing fourth was Brooke Forde, who also won a silver at the Tokyo Games in a 4×200 freestyle relay race.