Boise, ID – Lesbian tennis legend Martina Navratilova has shown her transphobia again – by signing a letter backing an anti-trans law in Idaho. Idaho passed the “Fairness in Women’s Sport Act” in March. It bans transgender women and girls from girls’ interscholastic sports. It also attacks intersex young people’s ability to take part in sport, as the law will also cover them. The US National Collegiate Athletic Association opposes the law. And it is about to decide what sanctions to take against Idaho. This could include moving its annual Men’s Basketball Tournament – famous as March Madness – out of Boise. The capital of Idaho is due to host the first and second round next year.

            But the letter Navratilova signed along with 309 other people urges the NCAA not to do so. Moreover, it refers to attempts to tackle the state’s transphobia as “bullying.” “We urge you to reject all calls to boycott and bully Idaho for preserving fair competition for women and girls across Idaho. We strongly believe that everyone should have the opportunity to compete, but true athletic parity for women demands that women’s sports be protected for biological females.” In 2018 Navratilova tweeted and then deleted a rant against trans women in sport. “You can’t just proclaim yourself a female and be able to compete against women,” Navratilova said. “There must be some standards, and having a penis and competing as a woman would not fit that standard.” She later retracted the comment, describing it as an “idiotic tweet” and promising to educate herself. However, in 2019, she doubled down on her view, saying trans women in sport have an ‘unfair advantage.”

            Idaho became the first state in the US to legislate against trans young people taking part in sport when it passed House Bill 500 and there are big questions about how the state could possibly enforce the law. Trans female athletes will have to go to the doctor for a genital exam or DNA test to prove to the state they are a woman. This year the UN instructed sports bodies to remove bans of this kind. And it said invasive testing of athlete’s gender may breach international laws about torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. At the same time, the law appears to be based on bad science. The Act claims that men inherently have ‘denser, stronger bones, tendons, and ligaments’ and ‘larger hearts, greater lung volume per body mass’ and so on. However, many of the advantages male athletes have are based on their hormones. Trans athletes taking female hormones will lose the edge testosterone gives men. Save Women’s Sports, which coordinated the letter, initially didn’t identify all 309 signatories. However, Outsports obtained a copy with the full list, including Navratilova at the top. Other signatories to the letter include swimmer Donna de Varona, who won Olympic medals in the 1960s. (Gay Star News – Tris Reis-Smith at https://www.gaystarnews.com/article/lesbian-tennis-legend-martina-navratilova-backs-idahos-anti-trans-sports-law/)