There has been some press recently about transgender athletes and how they are classified. Martina Navratilova has been dealing with some heat for suggesting a transgender athlete would have an unfair advantage which got me thinking about how water skiing might deal with T-Gas putting on a wig one day and smashing the womens slalom record or Ryan putting on a skirt and smashing the womens jump record - sounds crazy but the way we are heading this sort of scenario might just play out one day. Imagine how you feel as the record holder that gets broken... crazy world. I wonder if the drugs in sport rule could or should be used in some way..
Martina Navratilova, the former world number one tennis champion, has apologised for suggesting athletes who “cynically change gender” to win trophies in women’s sports would be “cheating”.
Navratilova, a long-term champion of equality in sport, said she was sorry for causing offence by the use of the word “cheat”, but stood by her concerns about transgender athletes in competitive sport.
After being accused of transphobia, she was dropped as an ambassador of an LGBT group which condemned her “deeply troubling comments” calling for further debate of the physical advantages of athletes born as men competing against women.
Other female sports stars including swimmer Sharron Davies have increasingly come forward to support an open debate about athletes born in male bodies competing with women, warning that in “some sports it could be truly dangerous”.
“To protect women’s sport, those with a male sex advantage should not be able to compete in women’s sport,” Davies said.
The comments and apology have followed furious debate over the issue of transgender people in sport, with Navratilova the highest-profile athlete so far to call for rules which ensure “girls and women who were born female are competing on as level a playing field as possible within their sport”.
After first airing her thoughts on Twitter earlier this year, Navratilova wrote in a newspaper: "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.
“It's insane and it's cheating."
In a blog post, she has now described how she “certainly stumbled into a hornets’ nest”, receiving a “barrage of quite nasty personal attacks”.
“I know that my use of the word ‘cheat’ caused particular offence among the transgender community,” she said. “I’m sorry for that because I certainly was not suggesting that transgender athletes in general are cheats.
“I attached the label to a notional case in which someone cynically changes gender, perhaps temporarily, to gain a competitive advantage.
“We should not be blind to the possibility and some of these rules are making that possible and legal.”
She added: “What I really wanted to do was try to open up the debate about equality and fairness in relation to transgender participation in women’s sport.
“There were too many voices that were silenced and shamed into submission and that is not right.
“My aim was to encourage a more scientific, rather than emotional, conversation and to search for a solution that would work better than current arrangements.
“I was motivated by concern about the future of women’s sport and my worry that by trying to be fair and inclusive for one group, others can be adversely affected, that eliminating one kind of discrimination can inadvertently give rise to another.”
Saying it was “obvious that men have certain inherent physiological advantages over women”, Navratilova called for “fair and open discussions can be held without preconceptions or prejudice, and without people being vilified as ‘transphobic’”.
Sportswomen including Dame Kelly Holmes, Sally Gunnell and Paula Radcliffe have joined discussion of the issue on their social media platforms, sharing news reports and calling for further debate.
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