IN MY VIEW[...].
Byline: Laura Clements
The Trans Women Athlete Dispute With Martina Navratilova BBC One Last year, Martina Navratilova tweeted it was simply unfair to have a penis and compete as a woman in sporting events. Poor Martina got a roasting on social media and was told in various different ways she was transphobic.
In this BBC documentary, Martina took a much more science-led approach than the gung-ho nature of her tweet and, in doing so, she raised many excellent points.
As a keen athlete myself, the trans woman athlete dispute is one I struggle with. How can it be fair for someone with a natural advantage over the opposite sex to be allowed to compete on an even footing with them? There is still much research to do, but in laying out the science and the evidence collected so far, Martina helped separate the factual argument from the emotional one.
"I want to love everyone, I want everyone to be included," she said. "But I want a fair field for everyone."
Like Martina, who was unable to reach a firm conclusion over whether it is fair to allow transwomen to compete in female sports, I believe more research is needed before any meaningful rules can be made.
Martina, a longtime advocate for LGBTQ rights, examined the issue in the same meticulous manner as she played tennis in her heyday.
Interviewing academics, researchers, sporting officials, trans and cis athletes, she presented a well-balanced argument for both sides of the debate. You couldn't not appreciate just how nuanced or complex the issue is - while one runner found her performance deteriorated after transition, a motorsport driver found the complete opposite and actually got faster. The issue of trans gender athletes has been thrust into the limelight by Caster Semenya, whose record-breaking performances have seen her vilified, sanctioned and her most intimate anatomical details scrutinised.
By speaking to real people who have gone through gender reassignment, Martina showed us, in a wonderfully delicate way, how trans men and women are neither statistics nor pawns in this heated debate, but actual people who just want to play sport without the continued prejudice they face every day.
Martina may not have been able to give any definitive answers, but this documentary showed how finding them might be more complex than you first thought.
| The Trans Women Athlete Dispute With Martina Navratilova is available on BBC iPlayer @firstname.lastname@example.org
Martina Navratilova with trans golfer Alison Perkins