“I am a biological woman.”
Cyclist Rachel McKinnon on Sunday called an op-ed by nine-time Wimbledon champion Martina Navratilova “transphobic” for arguing that trans women competing in women’s sports is “insane.”
“BBCRadio has asked me to discuss Martina’s transphobic articles,” tweeted McKinnon, who in October became the first trans woman to win the women’s cycling world championship. “I will not participate in a discussion panel that takes them seriously and gives them a platform.”
“Would you expect a black person to actively ‘debate’ a KKK member on civil rights? That’s analogous to what you’re asking me,” she added. “No.”
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Navratilova, is a lesbian and long-time advocate for women’s and gay rights. But to the dismay of some of her fans, she has been unrelentingly opposed to allowing athletes to compete in sports according to their gender identity, rather than their biological sex.
“It is surely unfair on women who have to compete against people who, biologically, are still men. I am happy to address a transgender woman in whatever form she prefers, but I would not be happy to compete against her,” Navratilova wrote for the Sunday Times this weekend, describing such a contest as “cheating.”
In December, Navratilova tweeted a similar sentiment, when prompted to comment on McKinnon’s victory.
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“You can’t just proclaim yourself a female and be able to compete against women,” she wrote. “There must be some standards, and having a penis and competing as a woman would not fit that standard…”
(McKinnon shot back at the time in an Out Sports essay, which included a five-step program for Navratilova to follow if she hopes to ingratiate herself again with her newfound Twitter haters.)
This position has also been espoused publicly by Fair Play for Women, a trans-critical group devoted to “protecting the fair and meaningful competition in women’s sports.”
Though the sporting community has increasingly struggled with the issue of transgender competition — earlier this month, USA Powerlifting, the premier weightlifting organization in the United States, announced it was banning transgender athletes from competition — for McKinnon, there simply is no tension between gender identity and biology.
“I am a biological woman,” McKinnon tweeted Sunday.
I will not participate in a discussion panel that takes them seriously and gives them a platform.
Would you expect a black person to actively 'debate' a KKK member on civil rights? That's analogous to what you're asking me.
I am a biological woman. (2/n)
— Dr. Rachel McKinnon (@rachelvmckinnon) February 17, 2019
Trans model Indya Moore expressed the same certainty.
“All humans are Biological,” she tweeted Sunday. “Trans women are women. Trans women are biological women.”
“It’s not rocket science, ovaries, uteruses, fallopian tubes or chromosomes. Chill cis,” she added.
incredible how many cis people in the comment section suddenly became science majors after seeing this tweet. All humans are Biological. Trans women are women. Trans women are biological women.
It's not rocket science, ovaries, uteruses, fallopian tubes or chromosomes. chill cis https://t.co/ij3jkSab3B
— IAM (@IndyaMoore) February 17, 2019
Nevertheless, some feminists are concerned that a failure to recognize the distinction between sex and gender could set the women’s rights movement back decades, as the social push for transgender inclusivity might come at the expense of the safety of women-only spaces.
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In her piece this weekend, Navratilova wholeheartedly rejected any show of “nastiness” toward transgender players. But she also noted the difficulty of conducting a serious discussion on these issues, given “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,” she wrote.