July 29, 2021 - 4:59pm

On Monday in Tokyo, Laurel Hubbard — a biological male — is set to represent New Zealand in the women’s weightlifting competition. Hubbard, who qualified within the rules, has exemplified what is wrong with those rules.

The 2015 decision by the International Olympic Committee to allow transwomen to compete as women — if their testosterone levels are below 10 nanomoles per litre for at least 12 months before their first competition — was wrong: no ifs; no buts; no maybes. Womanhood was effectively reduced to the results of a blood test.

With Monday now in sight, the IOC are coming under pressure to explain themselves. Earlier today IOC medical director, Dr Richard Budgett, suggested that, “When it comes to advantages and disadvantages there is more to learn, there is always more science.”

There certainly is. Recent research by Emma Hilton and Tommy Lundberg found that, “the muscular advantage enjoyed by transgender women is only minimally reduced when testosterone is suppressed.”

But while Budgett admitted that there was more to learn, he also said that “Laurel Hubbard is a woman [competing under rules of her federation]”. That is a significant statement. The Medical and Scientific Director of IOC thinks that biological males can become women. But even more astonishingly, he added: “Everyone agrees transgender women are women.”

Let’s be clear, this was not another incoherent partisan campaigner tweeting to their followers. Budgett holds a senior role with the IOC. Not only is he a doctor, he is also a former elite sportsman. He won Gold for Britain at the Los Angeles Olympics in 1984. Yet he thinks that transwomen are women, and that everyone else agrees with him.

Perhaps this explains why the IOC has got itself into such a mess. Because Budgett’s statement is nonsense. While women are defined by their female sex, the single qualifying criterion to be a transwomen is to be male. Male and female are mutually exclusive and hence transwomen are not women.

If the IOC hopes to extricate itself it needs to listen, and not just to transgender activists. If transsexuals like me can accept the reality of the facts of life, and not be erased or invalidated as a result, the committee needs to wake up to what everybody really thinks. Some people might be living in a fantasy world, but many of us still put our faith in science. Biological sex is real, human beings are sexually dimorphic, we cannot change our sex and — however they might “identify” — males should stay out of women’s sports. The sooner the IOC Medical Director understands that the better.

Debbie Hayton is a teacher and a transgender campaigner.