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Navratilova: Tricky to include trans women in women's sport

Czech tennis legend Martina Navratilova has been speaking to STV about inclusion in sport.

The question of how best to include transgender women in women's sport is "tricky", according to tennis star Martina Navratilova.

The 18-time grand slam winner said there needs to be a balance between being "as inclusive as possible" while ensuring a "level-playing field" for all women and girls in sport.

The 62-year-old Czech is attending the fifth annual "diversity summit" at Gleneagles ahead of golf's Solheim Cup getting under way.

Speaking to STV's Scotland Tonight, Navratilova pointed to inconsistent rules across sports on transgender athletes as part of the difficulty.

The tennis star previously courted controversy when she suggested trans women participating in women's sport was "insane" and "cheating".

This summer, she explored the issue in more depth by presenting a BBC documentary on it, where she concluded that trans women should be able to compete at all levels of women's sport.

https://stv.tv/news/politics/1438695-transgender-reforms-delayed-for-further-consultation/ | default

Navratilova told Scotland Tonight: "It's difficult because you want to be as inclusive as possible but you still want to have a fair situation, a level-playing field, as much as that is possible.

"By including transgender women in women's and girls' sports, now the women and girls that are playing, it's like 'wait a minute, I'm looking at someone that is much bigger, much stronger than I am, how is that fair?'"

She pointed to different levels of "transgenderism inclusivity" in different sports, saying: "Some sports have rules about testosterone levels, transitioning and taking hormone therapy, and some only say self-ID."

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has allowed trans women to compete under certain conditions since 2003, and as of 2015, only require them to have been reducing their testosterone levels for a year or more.

As of this year, the Canada Winter Games allows competitors to self-identify - "self-ID" for short - as their preferred gender.

'I just want to make sure that girls and women that compete have a fair chance and they're not getting pushed out by somebody that's much stronger and bigger because they are transgender.'
Martina Navratilova

Navratilova said she does not agree that self-ID should be "the only thing that makes a difference, that decides whether you play as a female as a male".

"It's about being fair in sports," she said.

"Sport is about biology and I just want to make sure that girls and women that compete have a fair chance and they're not getting pushed out by somebody that's much stronger and bigger because they are transgender."

The Czech added: "It's a tricky situation. I want to be as inclusive as possible but it's all about fairness."

On equality in sport, she said there was still "a long way to go" but pointed to the success of this summer's Women's World Cup.

'In about 100 years we'll have total equality. No, I'm kidding, hopefully it will happen a lot sooner.'
Martina Navratilova

Navratilova said: "Women had to fight for the right to vote, women had to fight for the right to participate at all.

"We've come a long way but we still have a long way to go. We still don't get equal prize money or equal endorsements.

"Tennis is about the only one that has equal prize money at the majors.

"Women golfers don't make as much as male golfers; in fact, male senior golfers make more than professional women."

But she said today in sport there are "more women in positions in power" and added that "the men that now have children and daughters, they want them to participate, they want them to be getting equal prize money, equal opportunities.

"It's all changing, very slowly. I think in about 100 years we'll have total equality - no, I'm kidding, hopefully it will happen a lot sooner.

"I mean, you saw the women's world cup. Now it's on the BBC and ITV full-on, you could watch all the games, whereas before it was kind of a footnote and maybe you saw the finals.

"As we get more visibility and more people watch it, more money is involved and it just keeps snowballing."

Tune in to watch the full interview on Scotland Tonight at 10.40pm.

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