Martina Navratilova has criticized the United States Tennis Association (USTA) for its stance on transgender athletes competing in women’s tennis tournaments.
It comes as transgender tennis star Alicia Rowley is believed to have become the latest player to win a women’s national tennis championship and ‘the coveted Golden Ball’.
The Independent Council on Women’s Sport (ICONS) posted the news on Twitterstating that Rowley recently won the National Women’s 55+ Championship on grass and the National Indoor Championship in singles and doubles.
The USTA states in its Transgender inclusion policy that trans athletes should be included and not prevented from participating in sport.
The document states: “It is necessary to ensure, to the extent possible, that transgender athletes are not excluded from the possibility of participating in sports competitions.
Martina Navratilova (right) has criticized the American Tennis Association (USTA) for its stance on transgender athletes
It comes after transgender tennis player Alicia Rowley became the latest national women’s tennis champion
ICON co-founder Kim Shasby Jones has called on the US Tennis Association to ‘change its policy’ that trans athletes should not be barred from playing the sport
“The primary sporting objective is and remains the guarantee of fair competition. Participation restrictions are appropriate insofar as they are necessary and proportionate to the achievement of this objective.
But following news that Rowley had won the national tennis championship, ICONS co-founder Kim Shasby Jones tagged Navratilova and Chrissie Evert in a Tweet, and claimed the USTA’s transgender policy should be changed. .
“Hi @USTA @WTA @Martina @ChrissieEvert”, Shasby Jones wrote. “Women’s tennis is becoming a laughing stock because of these terrible policies that prioritize the mental health and identity of men over women who have discovered a love of tennis.
“Women are calling us and begging for help to be allowed to play fairly. They complained; they don’t know where to turn. Men win national titles, take the place of women in team tennis and compete in women’s tournaments across the country.
“We need to let women and girls who play tennis know that they deserve to be treated fairly and recognized for their achievements, no matter when they start the sport.
And Navratliova responded to the ICONS co-founder on Twitter saying “It’s not right and it’s not fair”
In its Transgender Inclusion Policy, the USTA states, “There is a need to ensure, to the extent possible, that transgender athletes are not excluded from the opportunity to participate in athletic competitions.
“They don’t need to achieve any elite status. There is already a category for male athletes to take advantage of this privilege. Let female athletes enjoy tennis too.
“Change the policy,” she added, addressing the governing bodies. “And change your stance @BillieJeanKing – don’t give up on these women and this sport anymore.”
In response, 16-time Grand Slam champion Navratilova wrote: ‘Come on @USTA – women’s tennis is not for failed male athletes – whatever their age.
“It’s not fair and it’s not fair. Would it be allowed at the US Open this month? Just with self-identification? I don’t think…’
For league and recreational purposes, the USTA does not require transgender athletes to confirm their gender identity status, but does require those who play professionally to meet certain conditions.
Their transgender inclusion policy reads: “On the league and recreational side of the equation, the USTA considers that we do not require confirmation of gender identity status. Above all, we do not want to be an obstacle to recreational participation.
“We seek to respect all individuals and believe that players who compete under these rules do not do so to gain a competitive advantage, but to enjoy participation in a way in which they feel comfortable.”
For professional competitions, he adds, “Those who transition from male to female are eligible to compete in the female category under the following conditions: The athlete has declared their gender identity to be female.” The declaration cannot be modified, for sporting purposes, for a minimum of four years.
“Hormone therapy appropriate to the assigned sex was administered in a verifiable manner and for a sufficient duration to minimize sex-related advantages in athletic competition.”
Last year she challenged Billie Jean King (right) on Twitter, after the American voiced her support for writing on Twitter ‘Young trans people deserve to play and thrive’.
It comes after Wyoming tennis association president Jackie Fulkrod resigned last week to protest a decision to allow transgender player Brooklyn Ross to compete in the Governor’s Cup ladies’ singles category. .
Fulkrod told Cowboy State Daily“I think a man playing a woman is a very unfair game when it’s specifically for women in this specific draw,” she told the Cowboy State Daily.
“My decision to step down was based solely on the fact that we had no way to protect our organization or protect our female athletes who will be competing in the tournament,” Fulkrod added.
This is not the first time that Navratilova has published her views on transgender athletes competing in women’s sports categories.
In March, she said World Athletics’ decision to ban transgender athletes from competing in women’s categories was “a step in the right direction” before calling for an “open category”.
In December 2022, the 66-year-old also responded to a Tweet from Billie Jean King, who had expressed her support for trans athletes.
Jean King had written, “The Federal Court of Appeals just upheld Connecticut’s trans-inclusive athletics policy.” She added, “Young trans people deserve to play and thrive.”
“I couldn’t disagree more, inclusion at the cost of exclusion is not inclusion,” Navratilova replied.
“No one is stopping trans people from competing – they just need to compete in the biological category rather than a self-identification category.
Either a day has three categories, or two categories: one open to all and one reserved for biological women. But they are allowed to compete now.
British rowing announced last week that it would ban trans athletes from competing in women’s sports and followed the UCI, the world governing body for cycling, which also banned trans athletes from competing in events. women in July.