Outrage has been sparked after a petition to change rules allowing transgender weightlifter Laurel Hubbard to compete as a woman was canceled ahead of her Olympic debut.
When Hubbard's success as a schoolboy in the sport was revealed, anger erupted as people didn't think it was fair for her to compete as a woman with her past as a man in the sport.
The petition called for the Olympic Committee to put an end to transgender athletes competing in women's divisions but it was soon "canceled" as "hate speech."
The New Zealand weightlifter became the face of the petition after she was selected to compete in the 87+ KG women's weight division at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics with more than 30,000 people signing the petition arguing that Hubbard's inclusion puts her competitors at a significant disadvantage.
Hubbard transitioned from male to female in 2012 when she was thirty-five years old and after decades of competing in men's weightlifting competitions, the now forty-three-year-old will take to the weightlifting stage on Monday night.
Daily Mail Australia had revealed that the weightlifter captained her high school team to success at Auckland's exclusive Saint Kentigern Boy's College in 1994, prompting readers to conclude that her competing against other women is unfair.
But despite her high school team's success, Hubbard individually wouldn't have made it to the men's senior national team.
"So many women feel betrayed," a woman who knew Hubbard when she was competing in the male division said. And when the woman who began the petition was notified by email that it had been removed, she tried having the petition reinstated... but is yet to receive Change. Orgs decision.
As long as Hubbard's testosterone levels remain below the qualifying amount and she identifies as a woman, she is within regulations to compete, but the petition points out that the policy ignores several other factors.
"This completely ignores the physical advantage in speed, height, stamina, and strength that a male-born athlete will have," the petition read. "Women were not consulted and did not consent to this policy which will make a complete mockery of their sport."
Those competing against Hubbard don't seem too happy either.
Belgium's Anna Van Bellinghen said the situation seems like a "bad joke."
"I am aware that defining a legal frame for transgender participation in sports is very difficult since there is an infinite variety of situations and that reaching an entirely satisfactory solution, from either side of the debate, is probably impossible," she said as per the Daily Mail. "However, anyone that has trained weightlifting at a high level knows this to be true in their bones: this particular situation is unfair to the sport and the athletes."
But the weightlifter has a huge following behind her. "Laurel Hubbard has NOT broken any rules set out by the governance of sport," one supporter of Hubbard said, pointing out that she should be welcomed to compete against other women.
"When [people] are shown something that may be new and different to what they know, it's instinctive to be defensive," she said during her last interview in 2017. "It's not really my job to change what they think, what they feel, and what they believe. I just hope they look at the bigger picture, rather than just trusting whatever their gut may have told them."
"I'm just me."
Hubbard rarely gives any interviews as she wants to live a private life, but she said that all she can really do is block out the controversial opinions in her last interview.