First Transgender Athlete Will Now Compete in Olympic Games Despite Firestorm of Criticism

AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein, File

The first transgender athlete will now compete in the Olympic Games in weightlifting.

New Zealand named Laurel Hubbard to its team.

Hubbard has previously competed in men’s weightlifting events and will now be competing for the women’s team in the super heavyweight category.

The International Olympic Committee decided in 2015 that the determining criteria should be that someone has no more than a maximum reading of 10 nanomoles per liter of testosterone for at least 12 months. That level is still significantly more than that of an average biological woman – five times more, according to Fox.

Many are also logically questioning the decision, given that transgender athletes like Hubbard would still retain the muscle and bone density gained in male puberty.

Hubbard has previously won a silver medal in the 2017 World Championships and a gold in the Pacific Games in 2019 in women’s competition.

There’s now a firestorm of criticism over the decision.

From Reuters:

Save Women’s Sport Australasia, an advocacy group for women athletes, criticised Hubbard’s selection.

“It is flawed policy from the IOC that has allowed the selection of a 43-year-old biological male who identifies as a woman to compete in the female category,” the group said in a statement.

Hubbard’s gold medal wins at the 2019 Pacific Games in Samoa, where she topped the podium ahead of Samoa’s Commonwealth Games champion Feagaiga Stowers, triggered outrage in the host nation.

Samoa’s weightlifting boss said Hubbard’s selection for Tokyo would be like letting athletes “dope” and feared it could cost the small Pacific nation a medal.

Olympic swimmer and gold medalist Sharron Davies called out the unfairness.

“We have men & women’s separate competition 4a BIG reason, biology in sport matters,” Davies said. “Separate categories give females equal opportunities of sporting success.”

According to Fox, Belgium’s Anna Vanbellinghen said it was “like a bad joke” for other competitors like her who will have to compete against Hubbard.

“Life-changing opportunities are missed for some athletes — medals and Olympic qualifications — and we are powerless. Of course, this debate is taking place in a broader context of discrimination against transgender people and that is why the question is never free of ideology.”

This decision can cost some women life-changing opportunities, and it may cost a nation like Samoa another title. How does one look at that and believe that’s in any way fair?