A LGBTQ organization announced Tuesday it was severing ties with tennis legend Martina Navratilova after comments she made regarding trans athletes.
Athlete Ally, a nonprofit whose mission is “to end rampant homophobia, transphobia in sport and to activate the athletic community to exercise their leadership to champion LGBTQ equality,” said they were removing the tennis great as their organization's ambassador and from their advisory board.
The group said Navratilova’s recent assertions in an op-ed she penned for the Sunday Times about trans athletes were “transphobic, based on false understanding of science and data, and [perpetuated] dangerous myths that lead to the ongoing targeting of trans people through discriminatory laws, hateful stereotypes and disproportionate violence.”
The 18-time Grand Slam tennis singles winner came under fire after she argued it would be “cheating” to allow transgender women to compete in women’s sporting events due to “unfair physical advantages,” the BBC reported.
"A man can decide to be female, take hormones if required by whatever sporting organization is concerned, win everything in sight and perhaps earn a small fortune, and then reverse his decision and go back to making babies if he so desires," she wrote.
“It’s insane and it’s cheating,” she continued. “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.”
The Czech-born tennis star, who’s considered one of the greatest female tennis players in the history of the sport, has been campaigning for gay rights after she came out in the 1980s, ESPN reported. After Navratilova became one of the sporting world's first openly gay athletes, the tennis star said she endured personal abuse.
“She has spent much of her career overcoming prejudices and stereotypes, giving up millions of dollars in endorsements and sponsorship as a result of her insistence on living a life of integrity and honesty,” Navratilova’s personal website says.
Athlete Ally said this is not the first time they have “approached Martina on this topic.”
“In late December, she made deeply troubling comments across her social media channels about the ability for trans athletes to compete in sports,” Athlete Ally said in a statement. “We reached out directly offering to be a resource as she sought further education, and we never heard back.”
Navratilova has not immediately responded to being dropped by the organization.