Misc Tennis

We Seem to Put Trans Rights Ahead of Women’s Rights

Maybe It's Time For New Leadership

By Richard Pagliaro | @Tennis_Now | Monday, July 1, 2024
Photo credit: Avantist

Martina Navratilova says it’s impossible to level the playing field between transgender athletes and biological women athletes in women’s sports.

The 18-time Grand Slam singles champion told the media Wimbledon “we seem to put trans rights ahead of women’s rights” when it comes to women’s sports.

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Former world No. 1 Navratilova and good friend and rival Chrissie Evert met the media at Wimbledon over the weekend in a joint press conference to celebrate their breakthroughs at The Championships. 

A journalist asked: “Martina, have you faced any backlash regarding your comments on women’s tennis and transgender players?”

Navratilova replied: “Where have you been?

“Backlash? Where have you been? I’ve been jettisoned by a lot of the groups in the LGBT community,” Navratilova replied. “But, you know, I’ve been speaking my mind for a long time. I’m not going to change that. Yes, it’s been pretty rough. But I know I’m on the right side of history. I’m right on most people’s opinion about women’s sex-based spaces, and especially sports. They need to stay female.”

The owner of 59 Grand Slam titles across all disciplines, Navratilova has been branded “transphobic” by some critics, who say this is a human rights issue.

The left-hander has publicly battled figures ranging from soccer star Megan Rapinoe to Harry Potter star Daniel Ratcliffe to the USTA over transgender athletes participation in women’s sports.

In an interview with Time Magazine last year, Rapinoe suggested Navratilova was not only weaponizing women’s sports, she implied critical comments by Navratilova, comedian Dave Chappelle and former ESPN star Sage Steele were leading to violence against trans people.  

“It’s particularly frustrating when women’s sports is weaponized,” Rapinoe told Time Magazine. “Oh, now we care about fairness? Now we care about women’s sports? That’s total b*llsh*t. And show me all the trans people who are nefariously taking advantage of being trans in sports. It’s just not happening…

“Dave Chappelle making jokes about trans people directly leads to violence, whether it’s verbal or otherwise, against trans people. When Martina or Sage or whoever are talking about this, people aren’t hearing it just in the context of elite sports. They’re saying, ‘The rest of my life, this is how I’m going to treat trans people.”


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