Pay no attention to the men walking off with the women’s sports trophies, say LGBT activists. It’s a non-issue, they insist. Despite their denials, the controversy will flare up to new heights this summer at the Olympics in Tokyo. There, Laurel Hubbard, of New Zealand, is expected to be the first transgender athlete in Olympic history.
Laurel was for most of his life known as Gavin. He’s been mopping up the competition in women’s weightlifting for a few years and is one of the favorites to medal in the Summer Olympics.
The Guardian’s Sean Ingle wrote that Hubbard’s Olympic team “selection will sharply divide opinion between those who see it as an enormous step forward for trans athletes and others who insist she benefits from an unfair advantage.” Mark it down for entry in the understatement of the year.
Ingle also confirmed the scientific writing on the wall. Several studies “have recently shown people who have undergone male puberty retain significant advantages in power and strength even after taking medication to suppress their testosterone levels.”
Gavin Hubbard set junior records in multiple male competitions in New Zealand. In 2012, at the age of 35, he took the female name of Laurel. Shocking no one, “she has won several elite titles” in women’s weightlifting (emphasis added).
In 2018, Hubbard was in first place in the Commonwealth Games, but withdrew because of an injury. In 2019, Hubbard won two gold medals at the Pacific Games in Samoa, where the prime minister cried foul. Hubbard won the gold medal in the 2020 women's +87 kg event at the Roma 2020 World Cup in Italy.
NBC Sports Nick Zaccardi reported that the New Zealand Olympic Committee said it’s “very likely” Hubbard will qualify for the Olympics. “If she qualifies, the committee is expected to decide in June whether to take the next and final step — nominating her to the Olympic team.” Yahoo Sports said Hubbard’s Olympic qualification is “virtually guaranteed.”
So the women’s weightlifting competition in Tokyo’s Summer Olympics would then be rigged against the women. They’ll be starting out with an uneven, unfair playing field. None of the actual female weightlifting competitors was asked for a quote about this by Ingle.
The Guardian story quoted Hubbard as saying se “got the sense at least that people were willing to consider me for these competitions and it seemed like the right time to put the boots on and hit the platform.” It’s more a matter of putting his figurative boots on the necks of his female competitors.
The realities of biology are such that no one can actually change their gender. To get around that inconvenient truth, international athletic federations merely require men to lower their testosterone levels in order to disrupt the competitive balance in women’s sports.
International Olympic Committee guidelines issued in 2015 permit men (misnomer alert!) transitioning from male to female to compete in the women’s category without requiring surgery to remove their testes. However, their total testosterone level in serum must fall below 10 nanomoles per liter for at least 12 months. The International Weightlifting Federation follows the same rules, which do not offset male advantages over women.
Opponents of transgender inclusions in women’s sports in New Zealand and the United Kingdom have called on international federations to “wake up” and disallow men from competing in women’s sports.