“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.”
The social justice warriors got to Martina Navratilova. The tennis legend has apologized for speaking the truth: having transgender women competing in women sports that depend on size and strength “would be ‘cheating’ because the athletes would have an ‘unfair physical advantages.'”
The remarks led to gay rights group Athlete Ally dropping her from the advisory board and removed her title as Athlete Ally Ambassador.
Navratilova tweeted out before Christmas, “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.” The tweet brought a firestorm and she promised to write more about it when she educated herself on transgender athletes.
She tried to make amends in an op-ed in February by explaining the science she discovered:
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. 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.
In response, Navratilova penned an apologetic post on her website. She wrote:
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.
Well, I certainly stumbled into a hornets’ nest. The support I normally get from ‘my people’, the LGBT community, was replaced by a barrage of quite nasty personal attacks and I was dropped (jettisoned is a better word) as an ambassador for Athlete Ally.
Conversely, some publications and people that I am at odds with on most issues, such as the Washington Examiner (gasp) and James Woods (double gasp), were strongly supportive of my opinions. Those are unwelcome bedfellows. So where did I go wrong? Or did I go wrong?
I know that my use of the word ‘cheat’ caused particular offence among the transgender community. 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. The context may be different, but the case of Lance Armstrong, and the harm he did to his sport, is surely instructive.
EXACTLY. It’s science. The left loves to tout themselves as the party of science, but once again they remain blind to reality like they do with abortion. Navratilova expands on that:
It is obvious that men have certain inherent physiological advantages over women. These include height, weight, bone-density and muscularity. These advantages play a different role depending on the sport, with power-lifting being the biggest and most obvious advantage. Can we make sure those advantages are nullified so that women who have transitioned from men have the same level of physical capability they would have had if they been born female? Clearly, we can’t, because you cannot lose those extra inches of height (five inches on average) no matter what you do; some advantages of weight and muscle built up over time are also likely to remain, so to what acceptable degree should they disappear?
To put it into context scientifically, normal testosterone levels for men aged 19 and above range from 240 to 950 nanograms per deciliter (ng/dL). For women aged 19 and above, normal testosterone levels range from eight to 60 ng/dL. So even the highest level for women is lower by a factor of four than the lowest level for men.
I doubt this issue will go away. British swimmer Sharron Davies came to Navratilova’s defense on Sunday on the BBC when she said that transgender women should not compete to “protect women’s sports” and there’s nothing transphobic about it:
Speaking to BBC Sport, Davies, 56, said she had spoken to many other female athletes who “feel the same way”.
“It is not a transphobic thing – I really want to say we have no issue with people who are transgender,” she said.
“Every single woman athlete I’ve spoken to, and I have spoken to many, all of my friends in international sports, understand and feel the same way as me.
“Unfortunately, a lot of people who are in the races [now] are in a very difficult predicament when they can’t speak out. It maybe falls to the people who were competing [in the past] who would understand the predicament that is being faced at the moment to try to create a debate, and try to explain how we feel there needs to be a fair and level playing field.”
I have no problem with transgender people. Do what you want to do, but you cannot deny the science and biology of a human being. No matter how much surgery you have or how many hormones you pump into yourself, you cannot change your sex or DNA.
This is also why I don’t like to identify with groups or parties. I am a libertarian, but I do not belong to the party. If you stray away from their thought, they will eat you. The right is just as guilty as the left.
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