A transgender woman won two gold medals and a silver medal at the Pacific Games in Samoa Saturday. Laurel Hubbard, a weightlifter from New Zealand, won in the snatch lift and combined and finished second in the clean and jerk for women weighing more than 192 pounds.
According to the Washington Times, Hubbard, formerly known as Gavin Hubbard, is 41-years-old and transitioned in the last decade. 18-year-old Feagaiga Stowers of Samoa finished 2ndbehind Hubbard.
Hubbard’s name had also been in the news recently for a court case related to an October car crash. The athlete’s car “fishtailed” in a curve and hit a vehicle carrying an Australian couple in their 60’s. The driver spent 12 days in the hospital for spinal surgery. A judge discharged Hubbard without charge after ordering the 41-year-old to pay $12,774 to the victims.
According to the New Zealand Herald, the judge also ordered that Hubbard’s name be suppressed in the record until September 30, 2019. The judge in the case believed that the “publication of Hubbard’s name at that point would be likely to cause extreme hardship” in the athlete’s bid to qualify for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
After an appeal by Stuff Ltd., Judge Gerald Nation overturned the suppression order. He said the “Publication of Ms. Hubbard’s name in connection with these proceedings may head to hurtful and bullying type of comments on social media but any hardship she might suffer from that is not likely to be any different from similar hardship she may well suffer in connection with publicity as to her sporting endeavours.”
Hubbard’s victory is just the latest in a series for transgender athletes in women’s sports. In February, a pair of transgender athletes finished first and second in the 55-meter dash at the Connecticut state track championships, Christian Headlines previously reported.
Tennis great Martina Navratilova has garnered headlines in recent months for her opposition to transgender athletes competing in women’s sports. In an op-ed at the Washington Post, which she co-authored with Duke Law professor Doriane Coleman and four-time Olympic gold medalist Sanya Richards-Ross, the authors argued that men, even those taking testosterone suppressing drugs, have an unfair advantage over female athletes.
Hubbard disagrees. In an interview with Stuff, Hubbard said that since it has taken so long for a transgender athlete to break through in women’s weightlifting, “perhaps the problems some people are suggesting aren’t perhaps what they might seem.”
Scott Slayton writes at “One Degree to Another.”
Photo courtesy: Getty Images/Scott Barbour/Stringer