The International Olympic Committee (IOC) medical director Richard Budgett’s declared, “transwomen are women.” They should be included “when we possibly can” in women’s sports, as he affirms the full support of transgender athletes on Friday.
“After 100 years of promoting women’s sport, it’s up to each of the international federations to ensure that they try and protect women’s sport,” he told a briefing in Tokyo. “Science will help, experience will help, and time will help.”
Budgett remarks came as New Zealand weightlifter Laurel Hubbard prepares to be the first openly transgender woman at the Olympics competing in the +87kg category on Monday, as AFP reports.
Hubbard, 43-years-old was born male and competed as a male before transitioning to female in his 30’s. She took up the sport again after IOC guidelines for transgender athletes were met, sparking a global response.
New Zealand Olympic Committee spokeswoman Ashley Abbott said Hubbard kept a low profile in Japan, despite the “particularly high level of interest” in the Olympic debut.
She acknowledged Hubbard’s appearance had raised complex issues; the AFP report said Abbot also pointed out: “We all need to remember that there’s a person behind all these technical questions.”
“As an organisation, we would look to shield our athlete, or any athlete, from anything negative in the social media space,” she said.
Hubbard would be under no obligation to speak to journalists after the event, said a spokesman from International Weightlifting Federation.
Critics argue Hubbard has an unfair advantage over female rivals due to physical attributes locked into her body during her formative years as a male.
Supporters say a man competing as a woman is a victory for inclusion and trans rights.
Budgett downplayed concerns over trans athletes coming to dominate women’s sport, saying Hubbard was the only trans athlete to reach the Olympics since eligibility was first thrown open in 2003.
“If you’re prepared to extrapolate a bit from the evidence there is (and) consider the fact that there’s been no openly transgender women at the top level until now, then I think the threat to woman’s sport is probably overstated,” he said.
Despite the IOC’s insistence anyone identifying as a woman can compete as a woman, eight U.S. states have enacted laws banning biological males from competing in girl’s and women’s sports, as Breitbart News reported.