How can we end the current impasse over transgender athletes? | Sean Ingle


One side of the argument believes that women’s sport must be protected, the other that gender identification trumps everything. Debate is needed to find a fair solution

I can’t stop thinking about Feagaiga Stowers. Or rather a picture of the 18-year-old Samoan, standing on the second step of a podium last week, looking stoic but sad. By any measure Stowers is a remarkable woman. As a child she was a victim of sexual violence, and sought refuge at a Victim Support Group where she began weightlifting and went from being “shy and hopeless” – her words – to a world junior and Commonwealth Games champion. Yet having been chosen to be the flag bearer at the Pacific Games, she missed out on two gold medals to a 41-year-old, Laurel Hubbard, who looks set to be one of the biggest stories of Tokyo 2020.

The reason? Hubbard is a transgender athlete, who as a male named Gavin did not make a ripple on the international stage until becoming a woman in her mid‑30s. Now, though, Hubbard is a realistic contender for an Olympic medal and creating a tsunami of protests from women who fear she has an unfair advantage because of the residual benefits of being a male. As the Australian weightlifter Deborah Acason put it: “I feel that if it’s not even, why are we doing the sport?” The Samoan prime minister has also weighed in.

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Written by Sean Ingle
This news first appeared on under the title “How can we end the current impasse over transgender athletes? | Sean Ingle”. Bolchha Nepal is not responsible or affiliated towards the opinion expressed in this news article.