Tennis legend Martina Navratilova
Tennis legend Martina Navratilova Reuters/Edgar Su

Tennis legend Martina Navratilova is not backing down in the debate against transgender swimmer Lia Thomas, who recently criticised people for allegedly masking their "transphobia" under the guise of feminism.

To recap, Thomas became a controversial figure after shifting to the women's category after having already competed as a man in men's swimming competitions for three years. At that time, Thomas was ranked nowhere near the top ten or even the top 100 in some men's categories.

However, after transitioning as a transgender woman, she shocked the community by breaking a number of records and for becoming the first openly transgender athlete to win an NCAA Division I national championship in any sport. She did this by claiming the 500m title, and was also in the podium in other categories.

Her success against biological women sparked a massive debate across not only swimming but also a number of other sports. She has since appeared in many interviews to raise awareness and to speak out against her detractors.

In a recent interview on a podcast hosted by Bailar Schuyler, Thomas slammed those who claim to support her transgender identity, but disagree that she should be allowed to compete in women's sports after her transition.

"They're like, 'Oh, we respect Lia, as a woman, as a trans woman or whatever, we respect her identity, we just don't think it's fair,'" Thomas said. She then went on to criticise the stance even further, claiming that you can't do it half way. She says that preventing transgender athletes from competing against women by saying that it is feminism and a form of protecting women is all really just "transphobia" at the end of the day.

Navratilova, who came out initially as bisexual and later as a lesbian while also being a tennis legend, was not happy with what Thomas said. She took to her personal Twitter account to retweet a link to Thomas' interview while sharing a piece of her mind.

"NEWSFLASH Lia- it's not fair. We shouldn't have to explain it to you over and over. Also- stop explaining feminism to feminists...." Navratilova wrote.

Navratilova had been vocal about her opinion that it is not fair for biological males to compete against women in competitive sports. Earlier this year, she commended the decision by World Athletics to prevent transgender women from competing against women. She also gave a suggestion on how to stop them from being excluded from competitive sports altogether.

"In the wake of World Athletics' announcement, I think the best idea would be to have 'biological female' and 'biological girls' categories and then an 'open' category," she wrote in a piece published on The Times of UK.

She described the suggested open category as a "catch all" division which would welcome every competitor regardless of which gender they identify as. She also pointed out that the idea is already something that is "being explored" in the UK. After all, if there is a belief that there is no unfair advantage gained for being a certain gender, then a category open to anyone should also be deemed as fair.

"With an 'open' category there are no question marks, no provisos, no asterisks, no doubts. It's a simple solution," she said. It is unclear what Thomas thinks of the idea, especially considering her mediocre performances at the men's division.

Navratilova went on to further add that once an individual has gone through male puberty, such as in the case of Thomas, then the physical advantage gained from that can no longer be reversed even if the person goes through hormone therapy later in life.

Other rules are being explored regarding the possibility of allowing transgender women who were born male to compete against women if they started hormone therapy of puberty blockers before they hit a certain age. However, there is also a major debate as to whether children should be allowed to transition before they are legally considered to be adults.