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Congress Holds Pride Hearing on Transgender Athletes

Fierce exchanges occurred between witnesses and legislators at the hearing on “Protecting Pride: Defending the Civil Rights of LGBTQ+ Americans.” Riley Gaines was present at the hearing and was sparring with Democrats and other witnesses over the advantage biological males have over women in sports. Senator John Kennedy R-La joined the fray, asking Kelley Robinson, the first queer, Black president of the Human Rights Campaign, to elaborate on her beliefs — to which she responded she couldn’t “definitively” say that men have an advantage over women in sports. The hearing was an honest insight into a debate that has taken over the sports community — should transgender athletes compete in competitions as their biological or identified gender? 

FOX NEWS: Tennis great Martina Navratilova gives four-word reaction to Riley Gaines’ exchange with activist at hearing

By Ryan Gaydos; June 22, 2023

Tennis legend Martina Navratilova had a four-word reaction on Wednesday after a Democrat witness at the hearing on “Protecting Pride: Defending the Civil Rights of LGBTQ+ Americans” was asked whether she thought males have a biological advantage over females in sports.

Kelley Robinson, who describes herself as the first queer, Black president of the Human Rights Campaign, was asked the question by Sen. John Kennedy, R-La. Robinson said she couldn’t “definitively” say males have an advantage over women in sports. Robinson then tried to use a “news article” about how some men believe they could beat Serena Williams in tennis.

As Robinson pointed that out, Riley Gaines noted that Williams and her sister, Venus, both lost to “lost to the 203rd-ranked male tennis player” more than a decade ago.

Fifty-year-old Karsten Braasch challenged and beat Serena Williams and Venus Williams back-to-back at the 1998 Australian Open after the sisters claimed they could beat any male player outside the world’s top 200.

Navratilova responded to the exchange on Twitter.

“This is just sad,” she wrote.

Navratilova did not appear at the hearing, but her presence was felt. Gaines quoted the tennis great during her opening statement at the hearing, and she thanked her for “being such a force.”

The nine-time Wimbledon champion has been an activist for the gay community but has been against transgender women competing against biological women in sports.

In March, she applauded World Athletics for adopting a policy to exclude transgender female athletes from women’s competitions. She called it a “step in the right direction.”

“In the wake of World Athletics’ announcement, I think the best idea would be to have ‘biological female’ and ‘biological girls’ categories and then an ‘open’ category,” she wrote in an op-ed in The Times of UK. “It would be a category for all-comers: men who identify as men; women who identify as women; women who identify as men; men who identify as women; non-binary — it would be a catch-all. This is already being explored in athletics and swimming in Britain.

“Biological females are most likely to compete in the biological female category, as that’s their best shot at winning and it maintains the principle of fairness. With an ‘open’ category there are no question marks, no provisos, no asterisks, no doubts. It’s a simple solution.

“Once somebody has gone through male puberty, there is no way to erase that physical advantage. You cannot simply turn back the clock, for instance by trying to lower testosterone levels.”

Navratilova said she hoped the decision would lead to other sports following its lead.

Photo: Ted Eytan

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