New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, an outspoken feminist, threw her support behind a former men’s weightlifting competitor who now identities as a woman.
As The Daily Wire reported, Laurel Hubbard is representing New Zealand in the women’s weightlifting category at the upcoming Olympics. Hubbard will be the first openly transgender athlete to compete in the Olympics.
“All parties here have simply followed the rules,” Ardern said. “That’s the case for Laurel but also the team in New Zealand, they have followed the rules.”
Ardern notably styles herself an ardent pro-abortion feminist, which seems to run in contrast with her support for a biologically male athlete competing against biological women.
Many female athletes and feminists have spoken out against separating sports based on gender identity instead of biological sex, highlighting that 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.
As The Daily Wire highlighted this week, female weightlifter Anna Vanbellinghen, who is likely going to compete in the upcoming Olympic Games against Hubbard, has spoken out about the issue, likening the situation to “a bad joke”:
“First off, I would like to stress that I fully support the transgender community, and that what I’m about to say doesn’t come from a place of rejection of this athlete’s identity,” Vanbellinghen said earlier this month. “I am aware that defining a legal frame for transgender participation in sports is very difficult since there is an infinite variety of situations, and that reaching an entirely satisfactory solution, from either side of the debate, is probably impossible.”
“However, anyone that has trained weightlifting at a high level knows this to be true in their bones: this particular situation is unfair to the sport and to the athletes,” the athlete emphasized.
Since Hubbard physically developed as a man before transitioning, the trans weightlifter is at an inherent unfair advantage over biologically female competitors, said Vanbellinghen. “So why is it still a question whether two decades, from puberty to the age of 35, with the hormonal system of a man also would give an advantage?”
“I understand that for sports authorities nothing is as simple as following your common sense, and that there are a lot of impracticalities when studying such a rare phenomenon, but for athletes the whole thing feels like a bad joke,” Vanbellinghen continued.
“Life-changing opportunities are missed for some athletes — medals and Olympic qualifications — and we are powerless.”
Olympic medalist Sharron Davies on Monday similarly criticized the news. “We have men & women’s separate competition [for] a BIG reason, biology in sport matters,” Davies said via Twitter. “Separate categories give females equal opportunities of sporting success.”
The swimmer added that “the average age of a female Olympic weightlifter is 23,” while “Laurel Hubbard is 43. 30% unfair advantage! Sex not gender [for] sport.”