Recently decorated transgender weightlifter Laurel Hubbard said in a Friday interview that there isn’t any “fundamental” difference between him and the women he competes against.
“I don’t believe there is any fundamental difference between me and the other athletes, and to suggest there is is slightly demeaning to them,” he said, according to Newshub. “I think it’s incredibly disrespectful to the other competitors.”
Hubbard’s comments come after he won two silvers in the women’s World Weightlifting Championships, finishing second overall to U.S. competitor Sarah Robles, according to Reuters. Hubbard, 39, also finished second in the snatch category. Hubbard previously competed as a man in national weightlifting competitions, but began identifying as a female four years ago.
He met requirements set by the International Weightlifting Federation and International Olympic Committee to compete as a woman, given that he met the testosterone level threshold 12 months prior to competition. Hubbard competed as a woman at the World Masters Games in Auckland, New Zealand, in April and also became the first transgender to represent New Zealand in a weightlifting competition at the 2017 Australasian Championships in March, where Hubbard won gold.
“I think, as an athlete, you have to try to shut it out, because it just adds to the weight on the barbell,” Hubbard also said in the interview, responding to unease that he has an unfair advantage over his biologically female opponents.
“We’re in a power sport which is normally related to masculine tendencies … where you’ve got that aggression, you’ve got the right hormones, then you can lift bigger weights,” Australian Weightlifting Federation (AFW) chief executive Michael Keelan said. “If you’ve been a male and you’ve lifted certain weights, then you suddenly transition to a female, psychologically you know you’ve lifted those weights before.” (RELATED: Transgender Weightlifter Scores Medals At World Championships).
He is now gearing up to compete as a female at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
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