A difficult case

Stuff reports:

The selection of a transgender woman for the New Zealand weightlifting team is understood to be a first for New Zealand sport.

Laurel Hubbard will represent her country in the 90kg+ women’s category at this month’s Australian international weightlifting event and is in line for selection for the NZ team for next year’s Commonwealth Games.

First of all congratulations to Laurel for winning selection to compete for New Zealand. She should be very proud of her achievement. I have no doubt a lot of training has gone into this.

Marshall said he believed Hubbard had “huge advantages” over her rivals.

“She competed for a long time as a man and her efforts were very strong. That strength has remained with her despite reduced testosterone.

“That point is not recognised by the science and some of our competitors would say that’s not fair.”

That is a reasonable point. Generally I think people should be able to compete in line with their gender identity. You should not be discouraged from sports because you are transsexual.

But when someone transitions from male to female, it is likely that they remain with the biological advantage of having been born male when it comes to physical strength etc. Hence you have a difficult task of balancing being fair to the individual, to being fair to other competitors.

Generally international sporting bodies have tried to balance this tension by having acceptable maximum levels of testosterone for female competitors. But that is only a partial solution.

So no easy solution here.

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