Laurel Hubbard makes history as the first Transgender Olympic athlete

Weightlifter Laurel Hubbard is making history as the first transgender athlete to compete in the Tokyo Olympic games this year.

The 43-year-old will participate in the ‘Women’s Super Heavyweight 87kg-plus’ category for New Zealand in Tokyo this year at the Olympic Games.

Hubbard has expressed her excitement for the Games after recovering from a crippling arm injury, saying: “I am grateful and humbled by the kindness and support that has been given to me…

Photo of Hubbard weightlifting
Image via It’s Gone Viral

“When I broke my arm at the Commonwealth Games three years ago, I was advised that my sporting career had likely reached its end. But your support, your encouragement…carried me through the darkness.”

The announcement, while welcome for many, also came with much controversy.

Some believe she has advantages in strength as she underwent puberty as a male before transitioning in 2012 at 34 years old.

People have also noted that her inclusion in the Olympics meant 21-year-old Tongan weightlifter, Kuinini Manumua, who would have qualified, missed out on securing a place on the team.

Her inclusion came as a result of a change to the International Olympic Committee Transgender guidelines in 2015.

The guidelines state athletes who transition from male to female can compete in the women’s category without requiring surgery to remove their testes.

However, their total testosterone level in serum is kept below 10 nanomoles per litre for at least 12 months.

While the IOC’s policies have caused further frictions regarding ongoing disputes about transmedicalism, and viewing transgender identities through a hyper-medical standpoint, Hubbard’s success marks a turning point for trans athletes across the globe.