A Man Can ‘Never’ Be A Woman, Female Tennis Icon Declares

In a recent Twitter exchange, former professional women’s tennis player Martina Navratilova took a firm stance on the definition of female athletes, responding to assertions made by India Willoughby, a biological male broadcaster who identifies as a woman.

The debate started when Navratilova, who was recently in the news for commenting “Yikes” to a claim by women’s football icon Megan Rapinoe that the issue of women’s sports has been “weaponized” against transgender individuals, joined in on another conversation about trans women in women’s sports.

She stated that “trans identifying males is not a transphobic buzz phrase, but rather a biological fact,” going further to argue that it is essential to recognize the distinction between male and female athletes, not as an act of bigotry but as a matter of acknowledging biological differences. 

“Also it makes it much easier to understand who is who and how they started. Where they end up can change, but biology doesn’t change. Ever,” she wrote.

However, Willoughby disagreed and responded by taking offense at the label “trans identified male,” insisting that he and anyone “who transitions” is “factually and legally a biological female.”

“Biology absolutely changes. My body chemistry is more female than Martina’s. My anatomy is female,” he declared, challenging the tennis legend’s perspective. He further criticized Navratilova and others who refuse to acknowledge trans women as genuine females, chalking it up to “bigotry and prejudice.”

To back up his claims that he is a woman, Willoughby shared an image of a tag he was given at the hospital in which he was labeled “female.” “The NHS – actual doctors – recognise me. They’re not confused. So why can’t Martina Navratilova?” he quizzed.

Navratilova, on the other hand, reaffirmed that Willoughby “never was, and never will be, female,” firmly holding on to the belief that gender is an objective reality that cannot be altered by personal identification.

Twitter users chimed in with their opinions, some questioning Willoughby’s identification as a woman while her actions don’t show support for actual female athletes. “If India identifies as a woman, why does she not support womens rights in sport?” a user asked.

Willoughby responded to the user’s question, tweeting, “I don’t ID as a woman/female. I am a woman/female.” 

“And I support women’s sport,” he added, going on to deny the existence of “women’s right” in sport.

Other users joined in the skepticism about the validity of Willoughby’s claims by pointing out its counterproductive nature. 

“Oh just the man, India Willoughby, saying his ‘body chemistry’ is more female than the woman [Martina] Honestly, I despair at the BS he spouts on here,” another tweet read.

“Seriously though, it must be horrible to feel compelled to keep this going – whether or not there is the slightest self awareness of how counterproductive it all is. It is other people affirming and pandering to it that is a greater cause for despair imho,” a third user pointed out.