Flat White

Identity politics devours its own

19 February 2019

6:56 PM

19 February 2019

6:56 PM

Former tennis legend, Martina Navratilova, now understands just how ‘nasty’ those who champion identity politics can actually be. The whole controversy erupted late last year when Navratilova wrote the following tweet, but was then quickly forced to apologise and subsequently delete it.

But now, in a well-written article, re-published in The Australian this week, Navratilova persuasively and articulately argues why it is unfair for biological men to compete against women in professional sport. She writes:

I promised to keep quiet on the subject until I had properly researched it.

Well, I’ve now done that and, if anything, my views have strengthened. To put the argument at its most basic: a man can decide to be female, take hormones if required by whatever sporting organisation is concerned, win everything in sight and perhaps earn a small ­fortune, and then reverse his decision and go back to making babies if he so desires.

It’s insane and it’s cheating.

Now, while I agree with her central premise—men do have a natural, physical advantage over women, especially in sport—her argument is still fundamentally flawed. Putting aside her inconsistent use of appropriate gender pronouns, there is an even deeper problem with Navratilova’s philosophical stance. And that is, it’s quite frankly, hypocritical. Because the vitriol that Navratilova has received, especially from Rachel McKinnon—the transgender cyclist and academic who won the Master’s Track cycling championship last year—is precisely of the same volume and variety that she herself has poured upon our own Margaret Court.

Lest we forget, it was in June of last year that it was Navratilova who not only publicly vilified Court in the world’s media, labelling her a “racist and homophobe”, but also led the campaign to see her name removed from the Margaret Court Arena. In fact, she even started to troll Court on Twitter.

What Navratilova has now discovered, though, is what those who were opposed to the re-definition of marriage have been living with as an ever-present reality. There is no ‘love’ from the ‘love-is-love’ campaign as soon as you dare to disagree with them.

Ironically, Navratilova herself wrote:

McKinnon, who says she received more than 100,000 hate messages on Twitter after winning the world championship, has presented herself and other transgender athletes as victims of prejudice. Certainly, there can be no excuse for such ignorance and nastiness.

But I also deplore what seems to be a growing tendency among transgender activists to denounce anyone who argues against them and to label them all as “transphobes”. That’s just another form of tyranny.

I completely agree. When “transgender activists denounce anyone who argues against them” it is just another form of tyranny. But here’s the thing. It’s no different a form of tyranny to the one that Navratilova herself has imposed on those who have over the years disagreed with her in regards to her own homosexuality.

She has similarly labelled those who beg to differ with her by the same pejorative names and offensive insults. The only different between then and now is that the ball is in her court.

Mark Powell is the Associate Pastor of Cornerstone Presbyterian Church, Strathfield.

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