Navratilova was right first time on transgender sport: Guardian columnist

Guardian columnist Hadley Freeman has said that Martina Navratilova was right to say that men should not be allowed to compete in women’s sport, even if they identify as female.

The athlete recently came under fire for claiming such sportsmen have “unfair” advantages, but Freeman says she “has moved the discussion on”.

Navratilova issued an apology for calling transgender athletes ‘cheats’, but maintained her stance. She receieved support from other elite athletes.


Freeman noted that sporting categories, as well as other single-sex spaces such as hospital wards and prisons, “exist because of the significant physical differences between male and female bodies”.

But she added: “Current ideology is that gender identity is at least as important, if not more so, than biological sex.

Because of this LGBT sports groups “dismiss Navratilova’s arguments about male skeletal advantages with a simple ‘trans women are women’.”

‘Worth investigating’

The columnist also agreed with Navratilova’s comments about the physical advantages men hold in women’s competitions.

She agreed that: “Boys start growing bigger bones, muscles and greater heart capacity from puberty, and no gender switch will undo that.”

We only need to look at trans athletes standing next to their “strikingly smaller female team-mates” to see that “Navratilova’s arguments are worth investigating instead of dismissing”.

‘Magical thinking’

Freeman criticised the mainstream media for taking the side of trans-activists, “terrified of being on the wrong side of history”.

She said: “What got notably less media attention was the support for Navratilova from other elite athletes, including Chris Evert, Billie Jean King, Sally Gunnell, Paula Radcliffe, Kelly Holmes and Nicola Adams.”

The Guardian writer concluded by criticising Maria Miller, the Chairman of the Women’s and Equalities Committee, for the push to allow men to ‘self-identify’ as women, and criticising those who disagree.

Saying that Miller may have been “trying to improve her right-on cred”, Freeman said the result was “Biological women felt like they were being told to engage in magical thinking, deny their lived experience and accept the irrelevancy of biology.”

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