Martina Navratilova Apologizes for Use of the Word "Cheat" But That's It
Don't just read and believe the headlines, people. Martina Navratilova, who came out swinging against transgender athletes competing against women, did NOT apologize for saying trans women shouldn't compete with women. She wishes she hadn't used the word "cheat." Even though, in my opinion, she wasn't wrong to do so. In a column posted on her website, Martina clarified:
I know that my use of the word ‘cheat’ caused particular offence among the transgender community. I’m sorry for that because I certainly was not suggesting that transgender athletes in general are cheats. I attached the label to a notional case in which someone cynically changes gender, perhaps temporarily, to gain a competitive advantage. We should not be blind to the possibility and some of these rules are making that possible and legal. The context may be different, but the case of Lance Armstrong, and the harm he did to his sport, is surely instructive.
That to me is half a walk back. Because she's still saying let's not be "blind to the possibility" that some transgender athletes are exploiting the rules to cheat. She just wishes she'd not classified all trans athletes as cheater cheater pumpkin eaters.
I still do classify them as cheaters, but I'm a member of conservative circles where the LGBTQ and pro-left already hates me. So I stand nothing to lose. Read OPINION: Transwomen (Men) Who Compete Against Women Are Sexist Assh*les.
Martina, however, has lost rather a lot since calling trans athletes cheaters. She also writes in her column:
The support I normally get from ‘my people’, the LGBT community, was replaced by a barrage of quite nasty personal attacks and I was dropped (jettisoned is a better word) as an ambassador for Athlete Ally.
Doesn't sound like she's pleased, or that she's trying to get back into the good graces of Athlete Ally to me. Does it to you?
She also writes:
While there were some unfair articles and responses and name calling (a TERF? Seriously people?!?), the support I have gotten has been quite overwhelming. Some in the open, some from the ‘closet’. Fairness has been my mantra all my life. And that will not change, no matter the name calling. The communists tried to shut me up 45 years ago and look how that worked out...
Doesn't sound like a woman who's giving up the fight. Sounds like a woman who's gearing up.
She also included facts and science in her column, which I cannot say for anyone else on the "Transwomen are real women" tribe:
It is obvious that men have certain inherent physiological advantages over women. These include height, weight, bone-density and muscularity. These advantages play a different role depending on the sport, with power-lifting being the biggest and most obvious advantage. Can we make sure those advantages are nullified so that women who have transitioned from men have the same level of physical capability they would have had if they been born female? Clearly, we can’t, because you cannot lose those extra inches of height (five inches on average) no matter what you do; some advantages of weight and muscle built up over time are also likely to remain, so to what acceptable degree should they disappear?
Bingo. Men are men and continue to have the physical upper hand of men for their entire lives. It's not just testosterone which makes men better athletes over all, it's any number of physical standards which make them better able to compete physically.
Here's what Martina's column sounds like to me: "Fine, I was wrong to use the word 'cheat.' Maybe. But I'm not wrong to say men, transwomen or otherwise, shouldn't compete with women, that their competing with women is unfair. If people got their panties in a bunch and refused to move forward with the discussion over my use of the word 'cheat' then let's remove the word 'cheat' and get on with the rest of the discussion."
It's a discussion we desperately need to have, and we need people like Martina leading it.