11 September 2019

I want to be inclusive, but fair: Martina Navratilova discusses transgender athletes in women's sport

Martina Navratilova believes it is a difficult balance between being 'inclusive' and 'fair' when it comes to transgender athletes competing in women's sport.

The 18-time Grand Slam singles champion had previously accused transgender competitors in female sport of 'cheating'.

But in Scotland this week, Navratilova said: "It's difficult because you want to be as inclusive as possible but you still want to have a fair situation, a level-playing field, as much as that is possible.

"By including transgender women in women's and girls' sports, now the women and girls that are playing, it's like 'wait a minute, I'm looking at someone that is much bigger, much stronger than I am, how is that fair'?'

"Some sports have rules about testosterone levels, transitioning and taking hormone therapy, and some only say self-ID."

The IOC rules dictate that transgender athletes must have been undergoing hormone therapy to reduce their testosterone levels for at least a year before they are eligible to compete in elite women's competition.

Alternatively, athletes were allowed to 'self-identify' as their preferred gender in the Canada Winter Games earlier this year irrespective of biological differences.

"Sport is about biology," added Navratilova.

"I just want to make sure that girls and women that compete have a fair chance and they're not getting pushed out by somebody that's much stronger and bigger because they are transgender.

"It's a tricky situation. I want to be as inclusive as possible but it's all about fairness."

The best videos delivered daily

Watch the stories that matter, right from your inbox