Tamara Holder

Transgender weightlifter Laurel Hubbard wins competition, sparks controversy

This summer, the transgender world of sports was rife with controversy after inter-sex sprinter Caster Semenya won the gold at the Rio Olympics. Despite being born with a condition that causes her to produce abnormally high levels of testosterone, many believed she had an unfair competitive edge against other female racers.

This weekend, New Zealand transgender weightlifter Laurel Hubbard, 39, won first place at the Australian International weightlifting event, lifting over 271 lbs (123 kg) in the snatch, over 319 lbs (145 kg) in the clean-and-jerk lift, for a total of over 590 lbs (268 kg).  She lifted a total of more than 19 kg the second-placed female lifter.

Formerly Gavin Hubbard, Ms. Hubbard made the full transition in her 30’s.

Two-time Olympian Deborah Acason told 1News Now, “We all deserve to be on an even playing field. It’s difficult when you believe that you’re not. If it’s not even, why are we doing the sport?”

Hubbard’s teammate Emma Pilkington praised her teammate, saying, “She’s so genuine, she loves all her team-mates and her teammates are all really supportive.”