Australian Weightlifting Federation attempts to ban transgender athlete over fears of ‘advantage over female-born athletes’
The Commonwealth Games Federation has denied a call to ban a transgender weightlifter in the Games.
New Zealand weightlifter Laurel Hubbard, 39, has competed as a woman in the weightlifting championships after transitioning at the age of 35.
In order to compete, Hubbard has to prove that her testosterone levels meet strict criteria – and her last tests indicated that she has less testosterone than a cis female, reported Yahoo! Australia.
“Laurel has met all the requirements they’ve asked which includes a monthly testosterone test and her testosterone levels are lower than a normal female,” Olympic Weightlifting New Zealand president Garry Marshall said.
In spite of the results, however, the Australian Weightlifting Federation submitted a plea to have Hubbard removed from the team as she might have an advantage over “female-born” athletes.
“Ultimately, it is our strong view that weightlifting has always been a gender-specific sport, male and female, not a competition among individuals of various levels of testosterone,” wrote the chief executive of the Australian Weightlifting Federation Mike Keelan wrote to the International Weightlifting Federation.
“In our respectful view, the current criteria and its application has the potential to devalue women’s weightlifting and discourage female-born athletes from pursuing the sport at an elite level in the future,” he added.
The Commonwealth Games Federation rebutted the anti-trans claims of Keelan and the federation, stating that “there is no moral, ethical or legal basis to prevent transgender athletes from pursuing their sporting ambitions.”
“The gender eligibility criteria currently applied by the IWF has established sport-specific eligibility criteria to be applied for Gold Coast 2018 which allows both male and female athletes that have qualified to compete,” the group said in a statement.
“The gender eligibility criteria currently applied by the IWF does not constructively discriminate against transgender athletes and as a consequence there is no moral, ethical or legal basis to prevent transgender athletes from pursuing their sporting ambitions and competing in IWF-sanctioned events.”
The Games will take place on the Australian Gold Coast in April of this year.