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Gavin 'Laurel' Hubbard

ANCHORAGE, Alaska, February 4, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) ― The American arm of the International Powerlifting Federation has published guidelines excluding biological males from its women’s events, citing the principle of “fair play.”

USA Powerlifting published a “Transgender Participation Policy” that bars both the use of androgens by any athlete, including women seeking to “transition from female to male,” and the participation of “male to female” competitors.

Androgens are not allowed because of their “anabolic nature” and USA Powerlifting won’t permit any exceptions on medical grounds. As for biological males who wish to compete against women, the federation pointed out the physical advantages that biological males have over biological females when it comes to strength.

“Through analysis the impact of maturation in the presence naturally occurring androgens as the level necessary for male development, significant advantages are had, including but not limited to, increased body and muscle mass, bone density, bone structure, and connective tissue,” the policy states.   

“These advantages are not eliminated by reduction of serum androgens such as testosterone yielding a potential advantage in strength sports such as powerlifting,” it continued.

USA Powerlifting acknowledged that its parent federation, the International Powerlifting Federation, has adopted International Olympics Association (IOA) guidelines saying transgender athletes may compete. However, the American club pointed out that the IOA had allowed some ethical wiggle room for individual sports organizations.

“ … the IOC guidelines also allows sports to determine the impact on fair play through such inclusion,” the policy reads.  

“The IPF Medical Committee, while respecting the rights of those who choose to transition, has been consistent in its opinion that use of testosterone and participation of male to female transgender athletes in our sport compromises fair play,” it continues.

“While other sports and activities and other powerlifting organizations may choose a different interpretation of the impact on their respective competitive activities, USA Powerlifting will continue to follow the policies as defined by the IPF Medical Committee.”

The participation of male-to-female transsexuals in powerlifting has been unsurprisingly controversial. Laurel Hubbard, originally known as Gavin Hubbard, was the first male-to-female “transgender” powerlifter to win a gold medal for New Zealand at the 2017 Australian International & Australian Open. Hubbard’s victory in the heaviest weight class of the women’s division was called “unfair” by several other competitors. His hopes of winning gold in women’s powerlifting at the Commonwealth Games was foiled, however, by an elbow injury.

The USA Powerlifting policy means that female powerlifters can train for at least some American events safe in the knowledge that their hard work will not be in vain. They will be participating in a competition of female frames in peak condition, not in one that the results were fixed decades before by a Y-chromosome and all the physical advantages it confers upon the male athlete.