Olympics’ First Openly Transgender Woman Stokes Debate on Fairness
His comments led to their own reaction.
“We are all for the equality of women in sport, but for the moment that equality has been taken away from us,” Lambrechs told TVNZ. “The weightlifters come up to me and say, what can we do? Like, that’s not fair, what can we do? And unfortunately there is nothing we can do because every time we try to express it we are told to shut up.
At the weightlifting competition in Tokyo, athletes largely avoided discussing the importance of Hubbard’s presence at the Games. Sabine Kusterer, a German competing in the 59-kilogram event, several classes below Hubbard, expressed mixed feelings. She was “sad,” she said, that we focused so much on who Hubbard is rather than what she can lift.
Yet Kusterer also said the rules were unfair. She wondered if the organizers could create another category for transgender women, adding that Hubbard was an outlier not only because of her transition, but because of her age.
Hubbard quit lifting weights in her twenties because, she told an interviewer, “it got too much to take” as she struggled to face her identity. She returned to competition five years after her transition in 2012. When she won three titles in 2017, her performances sparked a firestorm on social media.
Hubbard isn’t the only athlete at the Tokyo Games whose identity doesn’t quite fit long-held gender categorizations. Quinn, a midfielder for the Canadian women’s soccer team who uses only one name, is not binary and has always competed with women. Chelsea Wolfe, a transgender woman, is a replacement for the US BMX team.
For years, the most controversial gender and gender issues had not been about the right of trans athletes to compete but about women, like Caster Semenya, a South African runner who is a two-time Olympic gold medalist. over 800 meters, which naturally have high testosterone levels compared to most women.
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