Trans weightlifter Laurel Hubbard a 'meaningful female competitor', says ex-Olympic adviser

2 August 2021, 14:01

By Tim Dodd

Olympic adviser Dr Joanna Harper tells LBC that weightlifter Laurel Hubbard's testosterone levels allow "meaningful competition" with cisgender female athletes, amid controversy over her inclusion in the games.

It comes as the New Zealander makes history by becoming the first openly transgender Olympian to compete in the games.

Tom Swarbrick asked Dr Harper: "Have the Olympic Committee got this wrong?"

"I think that testosterone levels probably should be lower than ten nanomoles per litre," said Dr Harper, referring to the total testosterone limit that female transgender athletes are allowed to have in the Olympics.

"I was on a committee in 2017 that recommended five.

"It's absolutely true that lowering testosterone won't eliminate all the advantages accrued during male-type puberty, but it does mitigate them to the point where I believe that in most sports we can have meaningful competition between transgender and cisgender women."

Read more: Laurel Hubbard: First transgender athlete selected to compete at Olympics

Tom then asked: "What about bone density, what about muscle mass, what about all those other biological differences between men and women?"

Dr Harper replied: "Muscle mass will be reduced, bone density will eventually come down, haemoglobin levels very quickly go from male to female levels within four months with the reduction of testosterone.

"I think that the rules which are in place are reasonable and do permit meaningful competition."

Tom then asked whether there are examples of trans men competing in male sports.

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Dr Harper said: "Yes, there's professional boxer Patricio Manuel who's undefeated in [the] men's competition.

"He has boosted his testosterone to male levels. He's very buff, very strong, he's not very tall but he's a damn good boxer."

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