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4 Mar, 2019 16:46

Piers Morgan defends Navratilova in trans women athletes row, wins praise online

Piers Morgan defends Navratilova in trans women athletes row, wins praise online

UK TV personality Piers Morgan has won praise for defending Martina Navratilova after the tennis great apologized for comments about transgender women athletes, with Morgan saying Navratilova had been “viciously vilified.”

Navratilova, 62, backed down over the weekend after she faced a backlash from some online for saying it was “cheating” and “insane” for trans women to compete in women’s sports.

Also on rt.com 'I was not suggesting they are cheats': Navratilova sorry for 'insane' transgender athletes remarks

The 18-time Grand Slam winner had faced particularly fierce criticism from LGBT groups including America-based Ally Athlete, who broke off a partnership with her.

READ MORE: LGBT group cuts ties with Martina Navratilova over ‘cheating’ trans women comments

But prominent UK TV pundit Morgan has staunchly defended Navratilova, writing in a tweet to his 6.5 million followers: “It's not 'transphobic' to believe transgender women have an unfair physical advantage in women's spot - it's a biological fact.”

In his regular column for the Daily Mail, Morgan suggested a scenario in which a lower-ranking professional male tennis player decided to transition to becoming a woman and compete on the female tour.

Such a situation, Morgan says, would mean even all-time women’s great Serena Williams would not stand a chance.

“He, now she, would instantly be the best female tennis player that’s ever lived,” Morgan wrote.

“She would destroy Serena Williams, and every other woman player.

“She would win every major tournament, break every women’s tennis record, and win tens, potentially hundreds of millions of dollars in the process.

“And she would kill women’s tennis forever.”


Morgan also defender former British Olympic swimmer Sharron Davies, who recently spoke out against trans women competing in women’s sport - only to be branded “transphobic” by some.  

“It’s the go-to weapon to silence anyone these days – just call them a ‘phobe’ even when they respectfully suggest something is self-evidently unfair,” Morgan wrote.

“I’ve watched all this with astonishment.

“First, at the fact we are even having this debate when Martina Navratilova is so obviously right.

“Second, that anyone like her who dares to say this is being subjected to the most appalling bullying in a bid to silence an opinion the notoriously aggressive transgender lobby doesn’t want to hear.”

Also on rt.com ‘Insane & cheating’: Navratilova reignites criticism over transgender women in sports

Morgan’s defense has gained traction online, with his original post being liked more than 1,400 times inside two hours, and with many users agreeing there is an inherent unfairness in trans women competing in women’s sport.

UK double Olympic gold medalist runner Kelly Holmes also backed Morgan, saying: “Nothing to do with being Transphobic and nothing to do with hatred or stopping people leading their lives as they wish. But in sport it’s a different matter for obvious reasons.”  

While the debate will rumble on, Morgan and others are leading the fightback against what they see as a growing injustice in sport.