BBC to air trans athlete documentary fronted by Martina Navratilova

Martina Navratilova smiles

Martina Navratilova will present Trans Athletes: A Fair Playing Field?, a new BBC documentary exploring the debate concerning transgender people in sport.

The BBC film will follow Navratilova as she meets a range of athletes, scientists and sporting officials to discuss trans inclusion.

The lesbian former tennis pro has previously been critical of transgender women competing alongside cis women.

“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,” she wrote in a Sunday Times column on February 17.

“A man can decide to be female, win everything in sight and then reverse his decision.”

—Martina Navratilova

“It’s insane and it’s cheating.”

Martina Navratilova meets trans athlete for BBC film

Navratilova hopes that the documentary—which will air in late June–”enables everybody to be more knowledgeable about the overall transgender and sport debate and hopefully brings us closer to a solution that makes as many people as possible happy.”

Trans athlete Joanna Harper with Martina Navratilova.

Trans athlete Joanna Harper with Martina Navratilova. (BBC)

During the film, Navratilova meets Joanna Harper, a trans runner and medical physicist who advises the International Olympic Committee on gender.

It also features contributions from Sharron Davies, the former swimmer who in March called for the exclusion of trans athletes from women’s sports.

Doubling down on her rhetoric, Davies suggested in May that events could be divided by chromosomes rather than gender.

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Sharron Davies calls for chromosome split

Referring to the CAS ruling which banned Caster Semenya from competing in certain competitions unless she artificially reduces her testosterone levels, Davies wrote: “If we are not careful then in 10 years all the records in men’s sport will be held by men and all the records in women’s sport will be held by women who carry a Y chromosome.”

“Maybe we have an XX female category and then a category for men and XY. We want sport to be inclusive and perhaps the way to do this is based on biology,” she continued in her Daily Mail article.

Three national LGBT+ sport organisations condemned Davies suggestions in a lengthy joint statement.

Clarifying that trans athletes have been permitted to compete in the Olympics since 2003, Pride Sports, LEAP Sports Scotland and LGBT Sport Cymru clarified: “Trans women athletes have to comply with some rigorous qualification criteria in order to compete, and to date, as far as we are aware, not a single transgender athlete has medalled at the Olympics.

“Surely this alone would suggest that the IOC’s transgender policy is having the desired effect of ensuring fairness in gender categories.”

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