Last week, more than 300 female athletes signed a letter sent to the Board of Governors of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), expressing their opposition to the inclusion of transgender people in sports.
Former Czech tennis player Martina Navrátilová is also among the signatories, most of whom initially wished to remain anonymous. Despite that wish, the Outsports website has published their names in an attempt to shame the signatories.
With the 309 signatures to the letter, the Save Women’s Sports group wanted to appeal to the leadership of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) that announced in June that it would discuss the abolishment of an existing rule banning transgender students from competing according to their authentic gender.
In the letter, the athletes ask for a fair and level playing field for women’s sport, saying that transgender women should not compete together with women who are biologically female.
The initiative published a call on its website to raise awareness about the threat women face.
“We strongly believe that everyone should have the opportunity to compete, but true athletic parity for women demands that women’s sports be protected for biological females,” the letter says.
While the Save Women’s Sports initiative revealed names of only four signatories, stating that all the names are known to the NCAA and do not need to be known to the public, Outsports obtained the entire list and published it.
The website then claimed that it wants the athletes to face the consequences of their actions.
“We sought these names in the public interest because those who stand in favor of discrimination ought to be held accountable,” the website declared.
‘It’s insane and it’s cheating’
The first name on the list of signatories belongs to the legendary former Czech tennis player Martina Navrátilová. She is a well-known opponent of the inclusion of transgender women into women’s sport. Last year, she called these athletes a scam, for which she faced a wave of criticism.
“It’s insane and it’s cheating. I am happy to address a transgender woman in whatever form she prefers, but I would not be happy to compete against her. It would not be fair,” wrote Navrátilová in an op-ed for the Sunday Times.
Other signatories include coach Linda Blade, who expressed support for Navrátilová and all the other women on the list.
“I am honored to be on this list. The NCAA listeners who issued this letter show us why this letter had to be written. Because you are bullies,” she reacted to the Outsports accusations.
I am honoured to be on this list?
By trying to shame us you and your little @ncaa #ncaa minions who released the letter are showing us PRECISELY WHY we needed to write the letter.
Because you are bullies.#IStandWithMartina @martina and all the women listed. ✅ https://t.co/voFYx1f2QX
— Linda Blade (@coachblade) August 3, 2020
The issue of including transgender people in women’s sports has been a highly controversial subject.
In the United States, at least 17 states allow biological boys and men to compete in female sports. Other states like Idaho have banned the practice.
Bianca Stanescu, who along with her daughter and a group of other women initiated a lawsuit against the state of Connecticut for allowing biological boys compete with females, argued in an op-ed for USA Today that men are biologically different from women, giving them an unfair competitive advantage that robs girls and women of the chance to enjoy and thrive in sports.
Citing a range of studies that highlight the biological differences between men and women, Stanescu wrote, “Women’s sports were created to give girls a fair chance at competition. That includes fair victories and fair defeats. Girls deserve the same opportunity as boys to excel, to advance to the next level of competition, to win, and to stand on that podium. But allowing boys to compete in girls’ sports shatters girls’ dreams and denies our daughters equal opportunities.”
Title image: Libel Huber, left, and Martina Navratilova react after a point during a World Team Tennis exhibition to benefit the Elton John AIDS Foundation on Monday, Oct. 10, 2016, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)