Pacific Games

Pacific Games Council To Review Transgender Issue

This comes after New Zealand transgender weightlifter Laurel Hubbard won gold in the women’s +87kg category. Hubbard beat Samoa’s flag bearer and top lifter Feagaiga Stowers.
22 Jul 2019 15:59
Pacific Games Council To Review Transgender Issue
Laurel Hubbard

Concerns about transgender athletes competing in the women’s category at the Pacific Games will be on the agenda when the Pacific Games Council meet to review the Games.

Council president Vidhya Lakhan confirmed that they will consult widely with the international federations and other stakeholders before making a decision.

This comes after New Zealand transgender weightlifter Laurel Hubbard won gold in the women’s +87kg category. Hubbard beat Samoa’s flag bearer and top lifter Feagaiga Stowers.

Last Friday, Samoan Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi has weighed in on the issue and called on the Pacific Games Council to address these concerns.

He told the Samoan Observer that perhaps there should be two additional categories added “transgender and tomboy”

Earlier in the week the chairman of the Pacific Games organising committee and Samoan Minister for Education, Sports and Culture Loau Keneti Sio called it “unfair” for a transgender athlete to complete against a women

But it seems the Council has its hands tied as they are required to follow international federation and technical rules.

The International Olympic Committee allows transgender athletes (male to female ) to compete after proving that testosterone levels stayed below certain levels in the 12 months leading up to a competition.

“These games and all other games are conducted in accordance with the Games charter and in consultation with the international federations,” Lakhan said

“So in this case, the international federation was consulted and they gave us their requirements which we are following – but what we are saying is going forward after each major game we do a general review of our charter rules, regulations and we will do that after the Samoa Games and this is a matter that will be on the agenda for the review. We will consult very widely,” he said.

Medical experts in Samoa suggest that the difference in muscle mass between a person born a man and one born a woman is something the Council should seriously consider in its review process.

Feedback: rosi.doviverata@fijisun.com.fj

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