Martina Navratilova joined Athlete Ally as an ambassador in 2014
The Grand Slam winner says allowing transgender women to compete in women’s sport is “insane” and “cheating”.
Tennis legend Martina Navratilova has been sacked as an ambassador for a group campaigning for LGBT sportspeople over “transphobic” comments.
She wrote in The Sunday Times that it was “insane” and “cheating” for male-to-female athletes to be allowed to compete in women’s sport.
Campaign group Athlete Ally decided to sever ties with the 18-time Grand Slam winner after calling the comments transphobic and saying they “perpetuated myths”.
In a statement posted to its website, the organisation said: “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.”
The tennis star said was “insane” and “cheating” for male-to-female athletes to be allowed to compete in women’s sport
Navratilova joined the organisation as an ambassador in 2014 and was given an award at the group’s first annual gala.
Former Olympic gold medal-winner Dame Kelly Holmes reacted to the backlash, saying: “Can someone please explain to me how she is transphobic?”
The tennis star previously came under fire after tweeting in December that transgender women should not be able to compete in women’s sport.
“There must be some standards, and having a penis and competing as a woman would not fit that standard,” she said.
Activists have argued that transgender women do not have an advantage when competing in sport, as the hormones they use lower the body’s performance.
UK-based campaign group TransActual tweeted: “We’re pretty devastated to discover that Martina Navratilova is transphobic.
“If trans women had an advantage in sport, why aren’t trans women winning gold medals left, right and centre?”
Athletes transitioning from female to male are allowed to participate in events without restrictions, under guidelines introduced by the International Olympic Committee in 2016.
However, male to female competitors have to keep their testosterone levels below a certain amount for at least a year.
Navratilova’s comments come as a legal tussle begins between South African runner Caster Semenya and the IAAF, the athletics governing body.
The IAAF want to put restrictions on Semenya and other athletes with “differences of sexual development (DSD)”, in order to ensure a “level playing field for athletes”.
Semenya has faced intense scrutiny throughout her career and took a gender verification test in 2009.
Navratilova has voiced her support for Semenya and retweeted a comment from fellow tennis star Billie Jean King saying that the IAAF’s treatment of the track athlete is “barbaric, dangerous, and discriminatory”.
Source: sky news