This Woman Took The International Weightlifting Title, There's Just One Thing

Opinions on transgender identity and physical change range from supportive to ambivalent to downright fury. In 2017, a controversial sporting event in New Zealand has stoked the fires of the incendiary topic after 39-year-old, Laura Hubbard broke national weightlifting records and attained first prize in the international women’s weightlifting title. Ms. Hubbard dominated the event, setting four competition records and lifting a total of 268kg (590lb). The tremendous physical and mental achievement obviously meant a great deal to Ms. Hubbard who has been described as “visibly emotional’ upon receiving the sporting accolade.

However, the course and outcome of the competition has garnered tremendous disagreement after it was revealed that Ms. Laura Hubbard was previously known as Mr. Gavin Hubbard. Ms. Hubbard identified as transgender and officially changed her gender and name in her thirties. This fact alone might not have been such a divisive issue. However, prior to changing her gender, Ms. Hubbard, who was also the child of previous Auckland mayor, Dick Hubbard, was a competitive player in male weightlifting, participating at a national level. Ms. Hubbard’s hormonal transformation has obviously changed her former ‘male’ physiology but it is likely that she retains a physical advantage over other female competitors. This has obviously been a source of frustration for fellow weightlifter with one unnamed competitor saying: “We all deserve to be on an even playing field. It’s difficult when you believe that you’re not. If it’s not even, why are we doing the sport”.

This view has been countered by other influential figures within the weightlifting community. Notably, well-known sports writer, Phil Gifford, openly supported Ms. Hubbard’s achievements, stating that because “testosterone levels…is a much more scientific war of measuring gender”, she had “every right to compete with the woman”. The divisive debate highlights a growing issue of gender identification within the sporting industry. Outrage and accusations of unjust rulings are likely to become even more pressing issues as global events like the Olympic Games draw closer.

Is this fair?

Source: Mad World News
Photo: Twitter, Mad World News

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