Naratilova Seeks Avenue for Transgender Athletes After Biden’s Executive Order

Tennis champion Martina Navartilova asked for a special provision for elite sports that would allow transgender athletes to compete in a professional setting.

This move comes in the wake of President Joe Biden’s executive ordered signed on Wednesday, which is designed to make transgender participation in school sports more accessible. 

The Executive Order on Preventing and Combating Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation is specifically intended to enable transgender women who have gone through male puberty a chance to compete in women’s sports.

In an interview with BBC Naratilova said that she supported any move towards equality, but had concerns regarding advantages trans women might have over other women and noted that the differences between women competitors and trans women were “pretty obvious”.

Naratilova formally opposed any “all inclusive” measures where people could compete simply on the basis of their gender identification, saying that it would not result in “an even playing field.” Instead, the tennis champion is calling for a “science-based, ethical approach” that would allow for “a middle ground that both protects women’s sports and accommodates transgender athletes.” This opinion was echoed by other athletes that are a part of Naratilova’s sportswomen group, which launched on Tuesday.

Sharon McGowan, chief strategy officer of Lambda Legal, made a statement, claiming that Naratilova should not view trans participation in women’s sports as a danger. McGowan does a significant amount of work for LGBTQ civil rights, and was at the US Department of Justice during Obama’s presidency. 

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