Okay, so this post is going to cause a bit of controversy, but it’ll be interesting to find out other people’s opinions on the matter of trans women competing in Olympic weight-lifting events.
Laurel Hubbard, a New Zealand weight-lifter, came out as transgender in 2013 and Olympic officials selected her for the NZ weight-lifting team. She had previously lifted 300kg in men’s competitions before quitting in 2001, but she resumed her sports career 10 years later at the age of 33. She suffered an elbow injury in 2018 and thought her career was over, but battled on to win Pacific Games gold in 2019.
Olympic criteria states that in order to compete, transgender women would need to have lived as a woman for the previous 4 years and to have kept their testosterone levels below 10 nanomoles per litre for at least 12 months.
Depending on age, men’s testosterone levels range between 10 and 30 namomoles per litre, and women’s testosterone levels range between 0.7 – 2.8.
This tells me one thing… for example if a transgender woman’s testosterone level is 9.99 to start with, then she automatically has an advantage over a non-transgender woman. The muscle mass which testosterone builds might probably still be there from her pre-transgender days as well, as of course transgender women have gone through male puberty.
Interestingly, Laurel at the age of 43 failed to lift 120kg at the Tokyo Olympics. Now then, was that due to her age (she’s the oldest competitor), her previous elbow injury, or her chemically reduced testosterone level? Would a younger, more fitter transgender woman have triumphed? I find it all rather fascinating.