Ex- British Swimmer Says Transgender Athletes Should Not "Compete" In Women's Sport

Transgender athletes should not compete in female competitions in order to "protect women's sport", says former British swimmer Sharron Davies.
Sharron Davies (L) and Martina Navratilova (R)

Her comments come after 18-time tennis Grand Slam singles champion Martina Navratilova said it was "cheating" to allow transgender women to compete in women's sport because they had unfair physical advantages.

One campaign group said Navratilova's comments were "transphobic".

Speaking to BBC Sport, Davies, 56, said she had spoken to many other female athletes who "feel the same way".

She said:

It is not a transphobic thing - I really want to say we have no issue with people who are transgender.

Every single woman athlete I've spoken to, and I have spoken to many, all of my friends in international sports, understand and feel the same way as me.

Unfortunately, a lot of people who are in the races [now] are in a very difficult predicament when they can't speak out. It maybe falls to the people who were competing [in the past] who would understand the predicament that is being faced at the moment to try to create a debate, and try to explain how we feel there needs to be a fair and level playing field.

Davies - a two-time Commonwealth Games gold medallist - says it is important sports' governing bodies debate the issue.

She added:

We need to come up with something that works for everybody and everybody agrees with, rather than having all sorts of diverse rules.

We need to come up with a unified set of rules that is clear, concise and fair.

Davies' comments came a day after she posted her opinion on Twitter. The 1980 Olympic silver medallist said: 

I have nothing against anyone who wishes to be transgender. However I believe there is a fundamental difference between the binary sex you are born with and the gender you may identify as. 

To protect women’s sport those with a male sex advantage should not be able to compete in women’s sport.

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