Martina Navratilova on Sunday apologised for describing transgender athletes wishing to compete in women’s sports as cheats.
The tennis legend, an 18-time Grand Slam title winner, was branded as “transphobic” after writing in a newspaper column that allowing trans-athletes to compete with women who were assigned female at birth is “cheating and unfair”.
She was also dropped as an ambassador for the Athlete Ally group which campaigns for LGBT rights in sport.
“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,” the 62-year-old wrote in a blog on Sunday.
“I attached the label to a notional case in which someone cynically changes gender, perhaps temporarily, to gain a competitive advantage.”
Despite apologising, Navratilova said that the issue of transgender athletes competing in women’s sport is guaranteed to keep creating competitive as well as ethical questions.