The transgender madness goes peak crazy - meet weightlifter Laurel Hubbard, aka Gavin

Tom Winnifrith Monday 27 November 2017


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Okay she was not born Laurel. Once upon a time she was called Gavin and was a junior record holder in the New Zealand male 105 kg class. Then Gavin decided he was a woman, had the snip and took hormone treatment and went back to weightlifting. Now, as Laurel, she will compete in the 90kg plus contest at the next Commonwealth Games in Australia.

Oddly enough not everyone is happy. No doubt Laurel reckons it would be a breach of her human rights if she could not compete. Don't get me wrong it his her body and she can do what she wants with it - that is a basic human right. But there are also the rights of others to consider, the rights of those weightlifters competing against Laurel who were born women.

Whatever Laurel says she has an advantage. As a man she would have been more muscular than as a woman. Let is be utterly biological and note that those competing against Laurel will have has their training at least marginally disrupted by period pains for all of their adult life. That would not have been an issue for Laurel however much and for however long she identified as a woman.

So Laurel has advantages over the other female athletes which are simply unfair. The right of folks to do whatever they wish with their own bodies is not something I can dispute. But that does not give them license to impinge on basic ideas of equity and fairness for others.

Hubbard won two golds at the Australian open this year and as things stand is a hot favourite to be on the podium at the Commonwealth games. No doubt some will see that as a great step forward for equality. I, and I suspect those competing against her, would beg to differ.

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About Tom Winnifrith
Tom Winnifrith is the editor of When he is not harvesting olives in Greece, he is (planning to) raise goats in Wales.
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