New Zealand-born Laurel Hubbard was the target of criticism from those who felt that, because she was a man for the first 30 years of her life, she would be undefeatable. LGBT advocates see her fall as proof that she is as much a participant as anyone else.
These 2021 Olympics will undoubtedly be remembered, starting with the fact that they were held during a pandemic, a situation that hasn’t happened in the world since at least 1918 with the so-called “Spanish Flu”. These games have shown that times have changed a lot since the last time they were held.
The other aspect that has caught people’s attention this year is the inclusion of trans people, or people who have changed their sexual identity.
Although it was still a controversial topic a couple of years ago, today it is a reality. Not only is there a skateboarding star who identifies as non-binary but also an athlete who, in other years, would have been completely banned. We’re talking about Laurel Hubbard, a weightlifter of New Zealand origin.
Arguably fulfilling the worst fears of the most conservative critics, Laurel is a person who successfully transitioned from being a man to being a woman, an identity with which she began competing in women’s weightlifting.
Laurel is so controversial because those who advocate for equal competition in sports point out that a person who has lived much of their life as a man would have an undeniable advantage over those who have been women all their lives.
The theory was put aside after news broke that Laurel had been eliminated from the competition.
While this is bad news for the athlete herself, who of course had longed to go further in the competition, the supposed crushing advantage she was supposed to have turned out not to be real. Laurel simply competed as another person in her category.
To participate as a trans athlete in one of the categories, the Olympic Games require a series of tests to demonstrate that a transition process has been carried out in accordance with the competition rules. This includes suppression of testosterone levels in the body of a man who has become a woman so that the natural strength they have is more on a par with that of a woman.
Critics of this process point out that even under these rules, having gone through male puberty would give the athlete a far superior advantage in bone density and muscle capacity. Unfortunately for her career, Lauren proved that this is not so.
She may not have won the trophy she was after, but Lauren can go home with one certainty: thanks to her defeat, other trans athletes like her will be able to compete with greater confidence.