A top male-to-female transgender weightlifter in New Zealand says he has no physical advantages over the women he beats in competitions.
Speaking to Newshub on Friday, decorated weightlifter Laurel Hubbard, who "transitioned" to female four years ago, said there's no "fundamental" difference between a biological male and his female competitors, and to suggest otherwise would be "disrespectful" to the women Hubbard defeats in said competitions.
"But some of her rivals' coaching staff have publicly questioned whether she has an unfair psychological advantage, having previously lifted heavier weights as a man," reported Newshub.
Hubbard replied, "Look, I've heard that and I think it's incredibly disrespectful to the other competitors."
"I don't believe there is any fundamental difference between me and the other athletes, and to suggest there is is slightly demeaning to them," Hubbard added.
As noted by Reuters, Hubbard, 39, recently took home two silvers in the women’s World Weightlifting Championships, placing behind only Sarah Robles, an American.
"He met requirements set by the International Weightlifting Federation and International Olympic Committee to compete as a woman, given that he met the testosterone level threshold 12 months prior to competition," notes The Daily Caller. "Hubbard competed as a woman at the World Masters Games in Auckland, New Zealand, in April and also became the first transgender to represent New Zealand in a weightlifting competition at the 2017 Australasian Championships in March, where Hubbard won gold."
The weightlifting champ said he doesn't let the social media "trolling" get to him.
"I think, as an athlete, you have to try to shut it out, because it just adds to the weight on the barbell," said the gold medalist.
But, of course, many still recognize the "fundamental" advantage a genetic male has over his female competitors. Australian Weightlifting Federation (AFW) chief executive Michael Keelan argued that there's even a psychological advantage.
“We’re in a power sport which is normally related to masculine tendencies … where you’ve got that aggression, you’ve got the right hormones, then you can lift bigger weights,” said Keelan. “If you’ve been a male and you’ve lifted certain weights, then you suddenly transition to a female, psychologically you know you’ve lifted those weights before.”
Hubbard was formally a men's weightlifting champ pre-transition.