Martina Navratilova claims allowing transgender athletes is ‘insane and cheating’

Tennis player Martina Navratilova

Former tennis player Martina Navratilova has hit out at “tyranny” from transgender activists and claimed it is “insane” to allow trans women to compete in sport.

The lesbian tennis player came under scrutiny in December 2018 after complaining on Twitter about rules that allow transgender women to take part in women’s sport.

Many international sporting bodies allow trans women to compete if their hormones are kept within natural levels for women, but Navratilova had tweeted: “Clearly that can’t be right. You can’t just proclaim yourself a female and be able to compete against women.

“There must be some standards, and having a penis and competing as a woman would not fit that standard.”

Martina Navratilova on transgender people in sport: ‘It’s insane and cheating’

The long-time gay rights campaigner followed up on Sunday (February 17) with a column in the UK’s Sunday Times newspaper.

In the piece, she wrote: “I promised to keep quiet on the subject until I had properly researched it… well, I’ve now done that and, if anything, my views have strengthened.

“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.”

Tennis player Martina Navratilova speak onstage at the FORTUNE Most Powerful Women Summit

Tennis player Martina Navratilova speak onstage at the FORTUNE Most Powerful Women Summit (Paul Morigi/Getty)

She added: “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.”

Martina Navratilova accuses transgender activists of ‘tyranny’

Responding to the criticism she received over her initial tweets, Navratilova wrote:”I also deplore what seems to be a growing tendency among transgender activists to denounce anyone who argues against them and to label them all as ‘transphobes’.

“That’s just another form of tyranny. I’m relatively tough and was able to stand up for myself in my Twitter exchange (..) but I worry that others may be cowed into silence or submission.”

The player’s decision to write the piece for The Sunday Times, a newspaper which has led criticism of transgender rights in the UK, has caused alarm among LGBT+ activists.

In January, press watchdog IPSO ruled against a “misleading” Sunday Times article that campaigners accused of stoking fears around transgender people in public toilets.