Executive Order 13988 was the fourth signed by Joe Biden on taking office at the White House on January 20. It demands that steps be taken to prevent and combat discrimination on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation. Without perhaps realising it, the new US president was walking into an argument with one of his partys most fervent supporters, the tennis legend Martina Navratilova.
Shortly after Biden’s executive order, a powerful group of female athletes entered the fray. The Women’s Sports Working Policy Group, whose members include Navratilova and Olympic swimming champions Nancy Hogshead-Makar and Donna de Varona, have called on the president to make separate provision for elite sport and to “establish a middle ground”. The group advocate a “science-based ethical approach”, stating that “girls’/women’s competitive sport needs safeguards and trans girls/women need to be included with appropriate accommodations”.