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According to an announcement from the International Olympics Committee, 43-year-old Laurel Hubbard will officially be the first transgender athlete to compete in the Olympics, representing New Zealand in women’s weightlifting.
Weightlifting athletes rely on the development of their strength, and many have criticized allowing trans athletes to join the sport because doing so disadvantages biological women. Biological males who “transition” still have greater bone density and testosterone advantages than biological women.
Hubbard “transitioned” from a male to a female in 2013 and has already earned a medal as a trans competitor in the 2019 Pacific Games in Samoa.
According to the Reuters report, “Hubbard has been eligible to compete at Olympics since 2015, when the International Olympic Committee issued guidelines allowing any transgender athlete to compete as a woman provided their testosterone levels are below 10 nanomoles per litre for at least 12 months before their first competition.”
According to the report, an advocacy group named Save Women’s Sports Australasia has been leading the rebuttal against the committee’s approval for qualifying trans athletes.
The group expressed concerns that women’s weightlifting would be damaged, should it be dominated by an advantageous competitor.
“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 announced following the decision.
Women’s rights in sports has a swell of support in the United States, largely from Republican leadership. Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis both signed legislation that requires athletes to compete according to their sex assigned at birth and have received significant mainstream media criticism as a result.
However, Missouri father Brandon Boulware famously gave a speech defending his trans-daughter’s right to remain in sports. Based on their ruling on Sunday, it seems that the Olympic committee agrees with Boulware.