The International Olympic Committee is going to allow the first transgender athlete to compete in Tokyo

The issue of transgender individuals competing in sports has now made it to the world stage.

Fox News reports that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has announced that it will allow Laurel Hubbard, a biological male who now identifies as a woman, to compete in the upcoming Olympics that will be held in Tokyo. 

Hubbard is a weightlifter who has competed in men’s weightlifting competitions in the past.

Hubbard will now become the first transgender athlete to compete in the Olympics. At 43-years-old, Hubbard will also be the oldest weightlifter competing at the upcoming Olympics.

The issue

Many are already directing criticism at the IOC for its decision. The argument is that allowing a biological male to compete in women’s sports is unfair, an argument that is likely even more persuasive in the area of weightlifting.

Back in 2015, the IOC amended its rules to allow transgender individuals to compete in the Olympics. But, there are certain requirements that these individuals must meet.

A biological male looking to compete as a female, for example, has to have maintained a maximum testosterone level of 10 nanomoles per liter of testosterone for a period of at least 12 months. To put this into perspective, this level is more than five times higher than the testosterone level in a biological woman.

The IOC also requires an individual to have declared their gender change at least four years in advance of competing. Hubbard transitioned eight years ago.

Critics, though, still maintain that Hubbard will harbor an unfair advantage over her female counterparts in the Olympics.

“Grateful and humbled”

Hubbard recently put out a statement on the IOC’s decision to allow her to compete.

“I am grateful and humbled by the kindness and support that has been given to me by so many New Zealanders,” Hubbard said. “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, and your aroha (love) carried me through the darkness.”

Hubbard added: “The last eighteen months has shown us all that there is strength in kinship, in community, and in working together towards a common purpose. The mana of the silver fern comes all of you and I will wear it with pride.”

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