I know that my use of the word ‘cheat’ caused particular offence among the transgender community. I’m sorry for that because I certainly was not suggesting that transgender athletes in general are cheats. I attached the label to a notional case in which someone cynically changes gender, perhaps temporarily, to gain a competitive advantage. We should not be blind to the possibility and some of these rules are making that possible and legal. The context may be different, but the case of Lance Armstrong, and the harm he did to his sport, is surely instructive.Navratilova drifts toward something that she can’t quite bring herself to say — the idea of excluding transsexuals from Olympic (and other) sports on the grounds that adding new categories amounts to a change in the historical categories:
It would be a big mistake for women’s tennis, which of course I know best, to be broken up into too many categories. Male and female, juniors, seniors and veterans, able-bodied and wheelchair, seems enough to me, certainly at the top level.The good news is that Navratilova appears uninterested in dropping the subject; "The communists tried to shut me up 45 years ago and look how that worked out...". Neither, apparently, are dumb hot takes like this one at OutSports, which considers multiple cases of trans women suing their way into (or getting bounced from) women's competition as "progress", and hilariously compares Navratilova to Nazis, employing "Joseph Goebbels nomenclature". Once more: the argument against trans women competing against biological women in sports rests on the idea that sports are a game of populations. Just because some trans women were defeated by biological women doesn't mean that, with enough time and trans women contestants, trans women wouldn't eventually fill the record books on games designed to fairly accommodate biological women's different and lesser physical capacities.
But we should be wary of solving the transgender problem (if I may call it that) by creating further categories. For while they are intended to be fair and inclusive, multiple categories can also fragment a sport and cause confusion.