The LGBTQ sports group Athlete Ally has removed tennis legend Martina Navratilova from its Advisory Board and as an Athlete Ally Ambassador after she wrote that trans women should not be allowed to play cis women in professional tennis.
Navratilova’s column followed similar remarks she made in December with trans athlete Rachel McKinnon.
Wrote Navratilova in her latest column: “The rules on trans athletes reward cheats and punish the innocent….Simply reducing hormone levels — the prescription most sports have adopted — does not solve the problem. 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, he would have to begin hormone treatment before puberty. For me, that is unthinkable.”
Wrote the organization, in part: “Athlete Ally unequivocally stands on the side of trans athletes and their right to access and compete in sport free from discrimination. Martina Navratilova’s recent comments on trans athletes are transphobic, based on a false understanding of science and data, and perpetuate dangerous myths that lead to the ongoing targeting of trans people through discriminatory laws, hateful stereotypes and disproportionate violence. As an organization dedicated to addressing root causes of homophobia and transphobia in and through sport, we will only affiliate with those committed to the same goal, and not those who further misinformation or discrimination in any way. Given this, Navratilova has been removed from our Advisory Board and as an Athlete Ally Ambassador, effective immediately.”
They added: “Public figures like Martina Navratilova have an incredible platform provided to them, and when they speak, the world listens. When we launched our Ambassador program in 2011 and invited Martina to join us, we saw her as a trailblazer for LGBTQ people in sports—someone who, like us, believed in the power of sport to advance equality, dismantle stereotypes, and build a more inclusive society. Martina’s latest statements stand in stark contrast to that vision, and to our core beliefs and values as an organization. We live in a world where 1 in 4 trans people are assaulted simply for being trans, and bills across the United States are seeking to dehumanize trans people and prevent them from accessing the rights they deserve. The trans community is under attack, and we firmly stand opposed to any and all people who perpetuate attacks against them—regardless of who they are or their accolades. To spread misinformation is to create a ripple effect of bias and discrimination that restricts trans people from living their lives fully, and endangers their health, safety and livelihood.”
Read its full (much lengthier) statement HERE.