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JK Rowling slams BBC’s new director of sport Alex Kay-Jelski after he referred to as tennis star Martina Navratilova and Olympic medalist Sharron Davies ‘not specialists’ on trans athletes in feminine occasions

JK Rowling has hit out on the BBC’s new director of sport after he mentioned Martina Navratilova and Sharron Davies have been ‘not specialists’ on trans athletes in feminine occasions. 

The Harry Potter writer criticised sports activities journalist Alex Kay-Jelski after he claimed, in an article for the Occasions in 2019, that whereas the 2 athletes have been ‘necessary, influential voices’ they have been ‘not specialists’ on the subject. 

Ms Navratilova criticised Mr Kay-Jelski, who she claimed has since blocked her on X, for being so assured in understanding what ‘ladies like myself and Sharron find out about biology and sports activities and so forth’.

Rowling later waded into the row, saying it was ‘unbelievable for a person in his place to say this stuff in any respect, not to mention block you’. 

She added it was ‘totally predictable’ that Kay-Jelski has been appointed to the function regardless of his earlier feedback ‘given the shameful state of the BBC’s reporting on the ladies’s rights/gender concern’.

JK Rowling (pictured) hit out on the BBC ‘s new director of sport Alex Kay-Jelski after he mentioned Martina Navratilova and Sharron Davies have been ‘not specialists’ on trans athletes in feminine occasions

Mr Kay-Jelski (pictured) has previously claimed in an article for the Times in 2019 that while the two athletes were 'important, influential voices' they were 'not experts' on the topic

Mr Kay-Jelski (pictured) has beforehand claimed in an article for the Occasions in 2019 that whereas the 2 athletes have been ‘necessary, influential voices’ they have been ‘not specialists’ on the subject

Ms Navratilova (pictured) claimed Mr Kay-Jelski, who has previously worked for the digital sports subscription service The Athletic, has blocked her on X

Ms Navratilova (pictured) claimed Mr Kay-Jelski, who has beforehand labored for the digital sports activities subscription service The Athletic, has blocked her on X

The row was sparked by a put up on X which drew consideration to an article Mr Kay-Jelski wrote for The Occasions in March 2019, at which period he labored as a Sports activities Editor for the newspaper. 

Within the piece he claimed that whereas Martina Navratilova and Sharron Davies have been ‘necessary, influential voices who converse for a lot of ladies on this subject. They, like most of us, usually are not specialists although.’

He continued: ‘And whereas it’s necessary to listen to and respect folks’s views, I disagree and fear a circus is being created out of one thing {that a}) shouldn’t be an enormous drawback in sport and b) additional marginalises completely unthreatening folks and creates a story of worry round them.’

The sports activities journalist went on to say that forcing trans ladies to compete in their very own particular class in feminine sport occasions was corresponding to doing the identical to ‘Jamaican sprinters and Ethiopian marathon runners’.  

He wrote: ‘It has been instructed that they need to compete in their very own particular class so there’s no sporting benefit. 

‘What about particular classes for Jamaican sprinters and Ethiopian marathon runners, whose genetics has been proven to provide them a bonus over their rivals? Sounds mad doesn’t it? Nasty, even. Certainly.’

Former Olympian Sharron Davies (pictured) is well known for winning silver at the 400m medley silver at the 1980 Summer Games in Moscow

Former Olympian Sharron Davies (pictured) is well-known for successful silver on the 400m medley silver on the 1980 Summer season Video games in Moscow

Sharron Davies on the way to winning silver in the 1980 Moscow Olympics

Sharron Davies on the way in which to successful silver within the 1980 Moscow Olympics

Martina Navratilova pictured holding the Wimbledon women's singles trophy in 1990

Martina Navratilova pictured holding the Wimbledon ladies’s singles trophy in 1990

Ms Navratilova later hit again at his feedback, writing on X: ‘That is fairly pathetic- by no means heard of this man, appeared him up right here and located myself blocked. 

‘As soon as once more, good to know that males apparently know what ladies like myself and Sharron find out about biology and sports activities and so forth. Simply superb to be this assured, no?’

Rowling additionally weighed in to again up the previous tennis star’s level. She mentioned: ‘I would say it is unbelievable for a person in his place to say this stuff in any respect, not to mention block you, and but, given the shameful state of the BBC’s reporting on the ladies’s rights/gender concern, it is totally predictable.’

Ms Rowling has been outspoken on her views on gender, and simply final month claimed ladies’s rights are dealing with ‘the best assault in my lifetime’ by trans activists.

The 58-year-old has been criticised by folks on the alternative facet of the gender debate, however mentioned she regrets not talking out ‘far sooner’ and could be ‘ashamed for the remainder of my days’ if she didn’t stick her head above the parapet.

She defined her perception in defending ladies’s sex-based rights in an essay which options in The Girls Who Would not Wheesht – a forthcoming guide on Scotland’s battle for ladies’s rights.

And he or she mentioned that had she not spoken out towards activism she would have felt ‘ashamed for the remainder of my days’.

Ms Rowling (pictured) has been outspoken on her views on gender, and just last month claimed women's rights are facing 'the greatest assault in my lifetime' by trans activists

Ms Rowling (pictured) has been outspoken on her views on gender, and simply final month claimed ladies’s rights are dealing with ‘the best assault in my lifetime’ by trans activists

Members of the public take part in a Let Women Speak protest on April 6, 2024 in Edinburgh

Members of the general public participate in a Let Girls Converse protest on April 6, 2024 in Edinburgh

‘I would come to consider that the socio-political motion insisting ‘trans ladies are ladies’ was neither variety nor tolerant, however actually profoundly misogynistic, regressive, harmful in a few of its targets and nakedly authoritarian in its ways,’ Rowling mentioned, in an extract printed within the Occasions.

Her feedback got here because the Conservatives not too long ago introduced new plans to make it simpler to ban post-op trans folks in women-only areas.

The landmark change within the regulation proposed by the Conservatives would permit transgender ladies to be blocked from coming into female-only areas with out authorized recourse.

This consists of areas corresponding to single-sex hospital wards, rape disaster centres, jail cells and bathrooms, and from competing in ladies’s sports activities. 

That might cowl transgender ladies who’ve had reconstructive surgical procedure and people who have a Gender Recognition Certificates (GRC) stating that they’ve modified gender.

Such an replace to the 2010 laws, to clarify that ‘intercourse’ refers to ‘organic intercourse’, was backed by Britain’s equalities watchdog, the Equality and Human Rights Fee, in April final 12 months.

At current, if organisers attempt to block transgender ladies from female-only areas, they face authorized challenges and being sued for discrimination.

The BBC declined to remark.  

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