Lesbian tennis player Martina Navratilova has spoken out against anti-LGBT lobbyists, who have seized upon her criticism of transgender athletes to attack LGBT+ discrimination protections.
The lesbian tennis player penned a February 17 column for the UK’s Sunday Times newspaper, that attacked rules permitting trans women to compete in sport.
However, her comments are now being cited by anti-LGBT evangelicals in several US states who are seeking to undermine LGBT+ rights.
In Montana, the ultra-conservative Montana Family Foundation cited Navratilova’s comments while attempting to prevent the addition of LGBT+ protections to the state’s human rights laws.
Martina Navratilova hits out at anti-LGBT groups for ‘misrepresenting’ her views
According to Outsports, a representative for the anti-LGBT lobbying group quoted Navratilova during a state legislature committee hearing on HB 465, which would add protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity to existing anti-discrimination laws.
ACLU of Montana policy director SK Rossi noted the claim, writing: “Martina’s comments were just used to oppose inclusion of LGBTQ people in Montana’s state human rights act.”
Navratilova responded to the news, attacking the anti-LGBT lobbyists for “misrepresenting” her beliefs.
The tennis player tweeted: “Well that is just ridiculous- I was only speaking about professional athletic competitions- certainly not HUMAN RIGHTS and EQUAL rights for transgender people. That is totally misrepresenting what I wrote/said.”
Navratilova’s comments were also seized upon by Republican lawmakers in South Dakota, who are promoting a bill restricting high school athletes to the category of their “birth sex.”
Responding on Twitter, Navratilova said: “How the hell does one jump from a top level athletic competition to basic human rights?
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“I don’t know. And anyone reading [my] article couldn’t possible come to that conclusion. Talk about taking things out of context.”
She added: “I have always called trans women women and accepted them as such- I will never try to define anyone. Athletic competitions are a completely different thing.
“I hate that these awful groups are using my words as justification.”
Martina Navratilova had attacked transgender ‘tyranny’
She wrote: “To put the argument at its most basic: a man can decide to be female, take hormones if required by whatever sporting organisation is concerned, win everything in sight and perhaps earn a small fortune, and then reverse his decision and go back to making babies if he so desires.
“It’s insane and it’s cheating.”
Navratilova wrote: ”I also deplore what seems to be a growing tendency among transgender activists to denounce anyone who argues against them and to label them all as ‘transphobes’.
“That’s just another form of tyranny. I’m relatively tough and was able to stand up for myself in my Twitter exchange (..) but I worry that others may be cowed into silence or submission.”