Support for first New Zealand transgender Olympic athlete Laurel Hubbard grows

By RNZ

A former world-class cyclist and trans-rights advocate says Laurel Hubbard’s Tokyo Olympics selection has been a long time coming.

Kristen Worley was the first transgender athlete to go through gender testing under the IOC’s 2004 rules.

She said the physical and psychological challenges Hubbard would endure were monumental – and the weightlifter would need support.

Hubbard is one of five weightlifting athletes selected for the New Zealand Olympic team.

She is tipped as a medal contender in the women’s super heavyweight category.

“I’m very supportive of Laurel and her personal endeavours. For me it’s about ensuring her safety as an athlete and her participation in Tokyo,” Worley told Morning Report.

She said there was a need for better education of human physiology.

“We have to understand the science of all of this. Laurel is like me, I’m a transitioned athlete … so we have gone through the intervention of our bodies postoperatively in terms of the sex reassignment surgery to create the vulva.

“What a lot of people don’t understand is the disruption of the endocrine system and the actual significant impact to the human physiology where the brain is actually disconnected from the major vital or organs and function of the human physiology.”

Worley said there was still lacking understanding in terms of the health and wellbeing of the athlete “let alone their safety in terms of their own participation physically, in a healthy way within their sport”.

“The issue around testosterone is a problem not from the standpoint of participation; the issue of testosterone is ensuring the health and wellbeing of the individual in and out of the sporting system.”

Waikato University psychology senior lecture Jaimie Veale said everyone in the trans community was proud of Hubbard.

She told Morning Report there was misinformation and fear being created around transgender athletes at the Olympics.

“It’s important for our community, just like any group, to have leaders and role models.

“I’m glad that this has finally happened.”

She said taking the discussion about taking away women’s rights was “dehumanising” against trans people.

– RNZ

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