International Olympic Committee (IOC) medical and science director Dr. Richard Budgett has claimed that “everyone agrees that trans women are women,” and praised 42-year-old New Zealand transgender weightlifter Laurel Hubbard.
Hubbard, a biological male who identifies as a female, will compete Monday at the Tokyo Olympics against biological women in weightlifting. Hubbard formerly competed against male weightlifters before the athlete identified as a woman and was allowed access to female competitions.
“To put it in a nutshell, the IOC had a scientific consensus back in 2015,” Budgett explained. “There are no IOC rules or regulations around transgender participation. That depends on each international federation.”
“So Laurel Hubbard is a woman and is competing under the rules of her federation, and we have to pay tribute to her courage and tenacity in actually competing and qualifying for the Games,” the doctor said.
“There are lots of aspects of physiology and anatomy, and the mental side, that contribute to an elite performance. It’s very difficult to say, ‘yes, she has an advantage because she went through male puberty,’ when there’s so many other factors to take into account,” Budgett said.
“It’s not simple,” he added. “Each sport has to make their own assessment depending on the physiology of that sport so that they can ensure there is fair competition, but also the inclusion of everyone – whether they’re male or female – so they are able to take part in the sport they love.”
Unsurprisingly, permitting biologically male transgender athletes to compete against biological women has been opposed by huge portions of the population.
Many female athletes and some famed feminists have spoken out against separating sports based on gender identity instead of biological sex, highlighting how females have lost out on opportunities because of the biological advantages males have over females, even post-trans hormone therapy, as a British Journal of Sports Medicine study suggests.
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