Transgender athlete sets world records

Weightlifting is hard. The numbers regularly hoisted by women in the sport would be more than enough to disabuse any man of the misguided machismo that associates strength with masculinity. So when a woman clean and jerks 149kg and snatches 123kg, setting new masters world records for both lifts and the total, it's generally kind of a big deal and cause for celebration.

But for Laurel Hubbard, it's been a cause for controversy—she's transgender (she's formerly Gavin Hubbard). In a global strength sport, the idea that someone can switch divisions from male to female raises some obvious questions. Does she have an unfair advantage, having trained and competed as a male for many years? According to FloElite, "Hubbard met all of the International Olympic Committee and International Weightlifting Federation criteria to compete as a woman, including proving her testosterone levels stayed below a certain threshold for the 12 months leading up to the meet," for a meet back in March. Is that enough? 

Transgender people face a difficult road here. If they're dead last, the question is "why bother?" If they're first, it's claimed that they have an unfair advantage. It seems like the only way the masses can be satisfied is if trans people are either forbidden from competing at all, or settle into quiet mediocrity. The Facebook comments on the story are overwhelmingly opposed to Hubbard, with most suggesting that she has an unfair advantage and either should not be allowed to compete at all, should compete with men, or should compete in a transgender division. 

Hubbard's lifts can be seen at 44:45 (snatch) and 1:47:00 (clean and jerk):


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