Martina Navratilova removed from LGBT organisation board for 'transphobic' comments

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       Charlie Martin told Sportswomen that Martina Navratilova's comments on transgender inclusion are misleadin

1:16 Charlie Martin told Sportswomen that Martina Navratilova's comments on transgender inclusion are misleadin

Gay rights group Athlete Ally on Tuesday removed the tennis great from its advisory board and stripped her of her Athlete Ally Ambassador title, accusing her of making "transphobic" comments in an op-ed in which she denounced rules that let "men compete as women".

Navratilova also campaigns for gay rights after suffering personal abuse when she came out during her career in the 1980s.

Writing for The Sunday Times, nine times Wimbledon Ladies' Singles champion Navratilova said trans athletes' advantage over biological women is not negated by reducing hormone levels - the prescription most sports have adopted.

A rep for Navratilova did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment, while Athlete Ally declined to comment beyond the statement on their website. "Punishing her for raising questions is shameful".

"In late December, she made deeply troubling comments across her social media channels about the ability for trans athletes to compete in sports", Athlete Ally said in a statement. Yet she's now being demonized by gay groups for publicly stating an obvious truth: Transgender women athletes have "unfair physical advantages".

In its statement, Athlete Ally said Navratilova's comments were "transphobic, based on a false understanding of science and data, and perpetuate risky myths that lead to the ongoing targeting of trans people through discriminatory laws, hateful stereotypes and disproportionate violence". "If trans women had an advantage in sport, why aren't trans women winning gold medals left, right & centre?"

"This idea that men will transition or pretend to transition to enter women's sport is offensive", Natalie Washington, a trans activist who plays amateur women's football in Britain, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. "Look up the changes that estrogen makes to the body", the group added. Back then she vowed to "educate herself on the issue".

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Athlete Ally said this is not the first time they have "approached Martina on this topic".

In the column Navratilova suggested she would not be happy to compete against a transgender woman and argued a man could reverse their decision after transitioning.

Trans women, however, must show that their testosterone level has been below a certain level for at least 12 months before their first competition.

"There must be some standards, and having a penis and competing as a woman would not fit that standard", she said.

She cited Rachel McKinnon, a Canadian cyclist who won the women's 200-meter match sprint a year ago at the masters track world championships for the 35-44 age group.

Scientific research into trans people in sport is rare.

She also points to her friendship with Renee Richards, the transgender woman who fought to compete in the 1976 U.S. Open after undergoing male-to-female sex reassignment surgery.

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