Martina Navratilova, one of the world’s most successful tennis players, has reportedly signed a letter that supports a ban on transgender female athletes competing in women’s sports at college.
Navratilova, a seven-time Wimbledon champion, is among more than 300 other athletes to have backed an Idaho law that prevents female transgender athletes from participating in sports in the state, according to a letter obtained by the LGBTQ activist and sports website Outsports.
The letter was coordinated by a group named “Save Women’s Sports”, which says it campaigns to “preserve biology-based eligibility standards for participation in female sports.”
Sharing the full story, not just the headlines
Last week, the organisation wrote to the National College Athletic Association (NCAA) – a body representing college athletes – urging it to reject calls from activists to boycott championships taking place in Idaho, over its stance on transgender athletes.
In a press release issued after the letter was sent, Save Women’s Sports said it asked the NCAA “not to give into ‘bullying tactics’ that are ‘antithetical to the NCAA values of respect, fairness, and civility’ by moving its scheduled competitions to another state.
Full details of the letter were not made public; those wishing to view it were asked to email Save Women’s Sport for permission.
The row relates to a bill signed into law by the governor of Idaho last year.
Republican Brad Little passed the House Bill 500, which prohibits athletes from participating in sports based on what gender they identify with.
Proponents of the law said it would stop transgender female athletes having a physical advantage over other female athletes.
Critics, however, have said that the law is unconstitutional, discriminatory, violates students’ rights to privacy and aims to solve a problem that does not exist
Navratilova, who has been living openly as a lesbian since 1981, has previously come under fire for comments she made about transgender women.
In an essay written for The Sunday Times last year, Navratilova said that “letting men compete as woman simply if they change their name and take hormones is unfair”.
The Independent has contacted Navratilova’s representatives for comment.