New Zealander Laurel Hubbard, who was known as a man for 35 years before becoming a woman in 2012, will compete in the Olympic Games in women’s weightlifting. The 43-year-old weightlifter, who has competed in women’s competitions for years, will become the first transgender athlete to compete in the Olympics.
The New Zealand Olympic Committee has ruled that Laurel Hubbard meets the International Olympic Committee’s eligibility criteria for transgender people. His testosterone level was measured below 10 nanomols per liter for the past year. “We recognize that gender identity in sport is a very sensitive and complex issue, and one that requires a balance between human rights and fairness on the court,” said the organization’s president, Keren Smith.
In 2019, Laurel Hubbard won gold at the Pacific Games, lifting 268kg, 13kg heavier than the two Samoan players who won silver and bronze. At the time, the Samoan government appealed to the Pacific Games Board to protest.
The decision to allow transgender athletes to participate in women’s competitions negates basic biological facts, says Beth Stelzer, founder of Save Women’s Sports, which campaigns to maintain segregation of sports competitions on purely biological grounds. “Allowing men to participate in women’s competitions is not only shameful, it’s also a mockery of sports,” she explains in an email to C.Hristian Post. “You can’t change your gender. A man can’t become a woman by lowering his testosterone level, women don’t have a hormonal level. In sports, identities don’t matter, it’s bodies. Women’s rights shouldn’t end where some men’s feelings begin.”