21,000 People Sign Petition To Overhaul Rule Which Allowed Transgender Weightlifter On Olympic Team
More than 21,000 people have signed a petition arguing against the ruling allowing transgender athlete Laurel Hubbard to qualify for the Olympics.
Hubbard made history as she became the first-ever transgender athlete picked to compete at an Olympics, with the New Zealand Olympic Committee announcing she had been selected for the women’s weightlifting team for Tokyo 2021.
The decision comes after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) changed its rules in 2015 to allow transgender women to compete if their testosterone levels are below a certain threshold.
A week before Hubbard was confirmed to be representing New Zealand, a group named Defend Women’s Sport created a petition to ‘Suspend the International Olympic Committee’s transgender policy’, arguing that having athletes who were assigned male at birth compete in women’s sports is ‘unfair to women due to the incontrovertible physical advantage that transwomen have.’
The number of people showing support for the petition has continued to rise in the wake of Hubbard’s selection, with more than 21,300 having signed at the time of writing, July 5. The petition has a goal of 25,000 signatures.
It argues the rule regarding testosterone levels ‘completely ignores the physical advantages in speed, height, stamina and strength that a male-born athlete will have’, and that the policy should be ‘suspended immediately’ as ‘women and girls are being sacrificed by the IOC as an easy fix for transgender demands for inclusion.’
The petition adds: ‘Women were not consulted and did not consent to this policy which will make a complete mockery of their sport.’
Similar views were reflected in a poll conducted by Daily Mail Australia, which found that 96% of participants thought it was unfair that Hubbard had taken the place of another female athlete in the competition.
Belgian weightlifter Anna Vanbellinghen, who is also competing in women’s weightlifting at the Olympics, said in May that Hubbard’s involvement in the Olympics would be unfair for women.
Per BBC News, the athlete stressed she fully supports the transgender community, but expressed her belief that the principle of inclusion should not be ‘at the expense of others’.
She commented: ‘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.’
In a statement issued by the New Zealand Olympic Committee, Hubbard described herself as ‘grateful and humbled’ by the support she has received from New Zealanders.
If you’ve been affected by any of these issues and want to speak to someone in confidence contact Mindline Trans+ on 0300 330 5468. The line is open 8pm–midnight Mondays and Fridays and is run by trans volunteers.