by Fred Kuhr
John Hayden, a reporter with Wilton Manors, Fla.-based OutSFL, has found himself in a Twitter war with tennis superstar and lesbian activist Martina Navratilova.
It all started during LGBTQ History Month this October when Navratilova retweeted a video of a drag queen discussing the importance of the Stonewall National Monument. But the retweet was not to praise the drag queen. She wrote, “Is this a joke? The pathetic parody of women continues.” In fact, Navratilova has become known for her strong stance against transgender women playing in women’s sports.
Hayden then went on the nonprofit Happening Out Television Network and criticized Navratilova saying, “You are a bad parody of a human being. The fact that you were a trailblazer and hero in 1981 — great, thank you for coming out, thank you for being what you were — but the fact is you’re not that anymore. You’re not an ally.”
That clip of the Happening Out TV report was then tweeted by a man who describes himself as “against gender ideology and puberty blockers,” reported OutSFL.
Navratilova then retweeted the clip with the comment, “This part of the thread was really special — one man lecturing me while two more nod approvingly. As if.”
Undeterred, Hayden replied to Navratilova, “I stand by every word, but we would be happy to discuss this in an interview. #NoTimeForTERFS.” A TERF, or trans exclusionary radical feminist, is defined as someone whose views on gender identity are considered hostile to transgender people, or who opposes social and political policies designed to be inclusive of transgender people.
“I think this is a good opportunity to look at how we treat our trans brothers and sisters,” Hayden told OutSFL. “Trans people have been and continue to be on the front lines of the LGBTQ fight. They didn’t ask for this, but they’re in it, and we must support them, and that includes sports.”
For Hayden, who has more than two decades of experience in TV news and currently reports on LGBTQ issues, these kinds of anti-trans comments are nothing new. He recently reported on a controversy at a high school in Coconut Creek, Fla., where four administrators have been reassigned after allowing a trans girl to join the volleyball team.
“We can’t abandon the T. LGBTQ must stick together because our enemies are patient. Once we abandon one letter, then they’ll come after the next, and they don’t care how long it takes,” he said. “We stand together or we fall together.”
In light of the controversy, the Wilton Manors Business Association (WMBA) has uninvited Navratilova’s wife, “Real Housewives of Miami” star Julia Lemigova, from performing at its Wilton Manors Holiday Spectacular on December 11. “Presumably, Navratilova will be a no-show,” wrote Hayden.
“WMBA is dedicated to fostering an inclusive LGBTQ+ community and unwaveringly supports our trans members. We firmly believe that every individual deserves to be treated with dignity, respect, inclusion and equality, regardless of their gender identity,” the group said in a statement to OutSFL. “As such we will only work with performers that share in our values and beliefs. WMBA’s board has directed our entertainment partner to remove Julia Lemigova from participating in the upcoming Holiday Spectacular.”
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