Backlash as transgender weightlifter qualifies for Commonwealth Games

Laurel Hubbard has been named to the New Zealand women’s weightlifting team for the Commonwealth Games, sparking controversy in the sport.

Hubbard, 39, will be the first transgender sportsperson to represent New Zealand.

After being cleared by the International Olympic Committee and Olympic Weightlifting New Zealand (OWNZ) last week, it was confirmed that she would be one of 12 athletes in the Kiwi home state’s weightlifting team on the Gold Coast.

Hubbard will compete in the women’s +90kg category, introduced by the International Weightlifting Federation at the start of the year.


Laurel Hubbard winning the 90kg+ division in the Australian International in Melbourne, March 18, 2017 (

However, not all reaction to Hubbard’s selection has been positive.

Australian Weightlifting Federation chief executive Michael Keelan on Friday claimed Hubbard would have both a physiological and mental edge over her rivals.

Speaking to the Australian Associated Press, Keelan noted that: “If you’ve been a male and you’ve lifted certain weights and then you suddenly transition to a female, then psychologically you know you’ve lifted those weights before.

“I personally don’t think it’s a level playing field. That’s my personal view and I think it’s shared by a lot of people in the sporting world.”

A Venezuelan weightlifter competes during the XVIII Bolivarian Games 2017 in Santa Marta, Colombia (LUIS ACOSTA/AFP/Getty Images)

Comments (0)

MyPinkNews members are invited to comment on articles to discuss the content we publish, or debate issues more generally. Please familiarise yourself with our community guidelines to ensure that our community remains a safe and inclusive space for all.

Loading Comments