Wellington , July 19 2019
Feminist group Speak Up For Women is calling on the New Zealand Government to defend women’s sport in the wake of controversy following transwoman Laurel Hubbard taking the overall title in the over 87 kg women’s weightlifting competition at the Pacific Games in Samoa last week.
Hubbard’s win put them ahead of Samoa’s Commonwealth Games gold medalist Feagaiga Stowers and her compatriot Iuniana Sipaia, who would otherwise have placed first and second overall. Charisma Amoe-Tarrant, originally from Nauru but representing Australia, would have received bronze overall but missed out altogether.
“Julie Anne Genter, our Minister for Women, and sports Minister Grant Robertson need to show some leadership on this issue” says SUFW spokeswoman Ani O’Brien. “They both know as well as we do that it is not right for males who have transitioned to take the place of female athletes in our competitions. The majority of Kiwis can see that this is blatantly unfair to women athletes.”
SUFW respects the stance taken by the Samoan Prime Minister Tuilaepa Aiono Sailele Malielegaoi Ms O’Brien says. “The Samoan government has spoken up for its female athletes and it’s time our government does the same.”
Ms O’Brien noted that Jaiyah Saelua, the first player recognised as transgender to play in a FIFA World Cup qualifier has been part of American Samoa’s men’s football team at the Pacific Games. “SUFW proposes a simple solution to this issue – transgender people play in the grade of their biological sex, and have rules around hormone treatments applied to them in the same way they are applied to non-trans athletes.”
“Julie Anne Genter and Grant Robertson are talking up their support for women’s sport in New Zealand” Ms O’Brien said. “How can they claim to support female athletes when they stay silent as a male person takes out the top honours in a women’s competition? It’s ridiculous and most New Zealanders can see that,” said Ms O’ Brien.
Media contact: Jenny Whyte
About Speak Up For Women
Speak Up For Women is a diverse group of ordinary New Zealanders including teachers, academics, health professionals, care workers, activists, lawyers and students with a shared interest in the rights of women and girls.