Over 21,000 people have signed a petition calling for transgender athlete Laurel Hubbard to be pulled from the Olympic team.
The super-heavyweight, who has previously competed in men’s weightlifting competitions before transitioning in 2013, has qualified for the women’s weightlifting team for Tokyo 2021.
To overhaul the ruling, an appeal has been put into action, as many have argued it’s ‘unfair to women’ for Hubbard to compete, as she will have an ‘unfair advantage’ during the games.
The petition, which has a target of 25,000 signatures, reads: “Male-born athletes who identify as women are taking women’s places on sports teams, breaking women’s sporting records and insisting they must share changing and showering facilities with women.
“This is unfair to women due to the incontrovertible physical advantage that transwomen have. It will also prevent some women from taking part in organised sport at all due to religious and cultural reasons.”
In 2015, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) ruled that transgender women can compete, as long as their testosterone levels are below a certain threshold.
But the petition argues that taking into account testosterone levels isn’t enough, as it ‘completely ignores the physical advantages in speed, height, stamina and strength that a male-born athlete will have’.
“Women were not consulted and did not consent to this policy which will make a complete mockery of their sport,” the petition concluded.
Belgian weightlifter Anna Vanbellinghen, who will also be competing in women’s weightlifting at the Olympics, and has also called out Hubbard’s involvement.
According to BBC, the athlete has insisted that although she supports the transgender community, she believes inclusivity shouldn’t come ‘at the expense of others’.
“Anyone that has trained weightlifting at a high level knows this to be true in their bones: this particular situation is unfair to the sport and to the athletes. Life-changing opportunities are missed for some athletes – medals and Olympic qualifications – and we are powerless,” Vanbellinghen stated.
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