Trans Olympic athlete Laurel Hubbard doesn't want to be considered a trailblazer

"All I have ever wanted as an athlete, is to be regarded as an athlete," the weightlifter said after an early exit from the competition yesterday.

A strong smiling woman at an Olympic event waving to onlookers

Despite making an earlier than expected exit from the Olympic Games, the impact New Zealand athlete Laurel Hubbard has made on the competition will resonate for some time. However, Hubbard does not want to be considered a trailblazer for the trans community.

Speaking to international media following her exit from the games, Hubbard shared, “I don’t think it should be historic. As we move into a new and more understanding world, people are starting to realise that people like me are just people.

“We are human and as such I hope that just by being here is enough. All I have ever wanted as an athlete, is to be regarded as an athlete.”

Hubbard also shook off the question of whether she would like to be considered a role model, elaborating, “The transgender community has more difference than it has in common because everyone is so individual, living such different lives in such different circumstances.

“I’m not sure that a role model is something that I could aspire to be. Instead I hope that just by being here, I can provide some sense of encouragement. And I just hope that different people who are undergoing any difficulty or struggle with their lives… that they can perhaps see that there are opportunities in the world. There are opportunities to live authentically, and as we are.”

Laurel Hubbard was recognised as one of the first openly trans athletes to compete in the Olympics, representing her home country in women’s weightlifting. Although receiving the full support of the New Zealand Olympic Committee and the International Olympic Committee, her inclusion in the games was the subject of controversy due to unfortunate continued criticism about trans participation in sport.

During her recent press conference, the athlete shared her discomfort at being the centre of so much attention, also suggesting she may retire from competing. Hubbard continued, “What I hope is, if I am in a position to look back, that this will just be a small part of history, just a small step. I really hope that with time, any significance to this occasion is diminished by things to come.”

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