The Prague-born tennis adept, Martina Navratilova is primarily known for her 30-year long productive longevity than her Grand Slam reverence on the WTA circuit. She served the women’s track of tennis from the year 1975 to 2005. In 1981, Navratilova became an American citizen and revealed her bisexuality and her relationship with the American writer, Rita Mae Brown. The same year, she was in a relationship with the basketball professional, Nancy Elizabeth Lieberman and the 18-time Grand Slam champion identified herself as a lesbian.
Martina Navratilova quarrelled for permitting the trans women to participate in the WTA events and she has been receiving criticism for the “disturbing, upsetting, and deeply transphobic” the article she wrote. The Trans Actual team was resentful upon knowing the reality about Navratilova, they tweeted, “We’re pretty devastated to discover that Martina Navratilova is transphobic. If trans women had an advantage in sport, why aren’t trans women winning gold medals left, right and centre ?” The tennis champion and the gay rights campaigner were criticised by the equalities activists and trans athletes as she shared her words on Twitter, “You can’t just proclaim yourself a female and be able to compete against women.”
The 62-year old Czech-American, Navratilova did not raise her voice on this subject for some time, and she spent time on researching about the same. After having a stronger perspective on the same, she penned down her views in ‘The Sunday Times’, which said, “To put the argument at its most basic: a man can decide to be female, take hormones if required by whatever sporting organisation is concerned, win everything in sight and perhaps earn a small fortune, and then reverse his decision and go back to making babies if he so desires. It’s insane and it’s cheating. 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.”
In 2003 in order to participate in the tournament, the transgender athletes had to undergo reassignment surgery which was followed by a minimum of two years of hormone therapy. The International Olympic Committee laid regulations regarding the same in the year 2016, the trans men do not have any constraints for their participation whereas the trans women must validate the level of the testosterone hormone should be below a certain threshold for at least a year before their first competition.
“Simply reducing hormone levels – the prescription most sports have adopted – does not solve the problem,” Navratilova further addressed in the journal. “A man builds up muscle and bone density, as well as a greater number of oxygen-carrying red blood cells, from childhood.” She was criticised by Rachel McKinnon, a Canadian academic and cyclist, who became the first transgender woman to win a track world title. “McKinnon has vigorously defended her right to compete, pointing out that, when tested, her levels of testosterone, the male hormone, were well within the limits set by world cycling’s governing body,” Navratilova addressed to McKinnon’s words. “Nevertheless, at 6ft tall and weighing more than 14 stone, she appeared to have a substantial advantage in muscle mass over her rivals.”
The LGBT rights spokesperson uttered, “Sport should be welcoming to everyone, including trans people. We need clubs and governing bodies, as the experts, to consider how their sports’ individual policies can work to be as inclusive as possible, and what advice and guidance they’re giving to ensure all people, including trans people, can take part in sport.”