OPINION: Laurel Hubbard.
She's been spoken about in the media a lot lately, much to her dismay.
The female weightlifter has been on the world stage representing Aotearoa at the Commonwealth Games.
After an unfortunate lift yesterday, she walked away without a medal in hand.
What's worse is she also walked away with not only physical injuries, but mental ones too.
The ones which are only created by words, hurtful, unneeded words that have no place in today's society.
Laurel Hubbard is also transgender.
It could have been a different story.
It could have read New Zealand makes history.
It could have read first New Zealand transgender woman competes in Commonwealth Games.
It could have read Laurel Hubbard does New Zealand proud.
Instead a debate around the appropriateness of Hubbard competing in the women's section dominated headlines.
It over-shadowed what should have been an incredible moment in history.
The same lines were spouted over and over again.
"Hubbard was born a man"... "Hubbard has a natural advantage"... "It's not fair".
What isn't fair is how we have judged one of our own.
I'm going to make it simple for you.
Laurel Hubbard is a woman.
She is classed as a woman.
She has lived as a woman and considers herself a woman.
She is Laurel Hubbard.
The argument she has an advantage over other cisgender woman is one you should only boast if you understand the science, which by the way points to the contrary.
Let's be clear, Hubbard has passed all the necessary testing and the powers that be have deemed her a woman.
Legally, she proved her testosterone levels were down and hormones were similar to that of a woman.
She would not have been allowed to compete otherwise.
But yes I hear the other side, it's not the hormones that are the problem, you can't change anatomy. Wrong.
Here's some food for thought, some proper science to add into the mix.
The world's first transgender study showed that hormone therapy didn't just decrease testosterone levels, but reduced muscle mass, decreased bone density, as well as other physical characteristics.
The result? A loss of speed, strength, endurance, and your advantage argument.
A transgender woman's body physically becomes female as well.
Much like a trans distance runner would completely lose her speed advantage over a cisgender woman, Hubbard lost her strength advantage too.
Unfortunately we find ourselves in an irrelevant topic of discussion.
We should be instead congratulating an athlete that has done New Zealand proud.
Let's not get caught in the art of discrimination.
So I'll leave you with what we should have been talking about.
Congratulations Laurel Hubbard.
Despite your result, you had done us proud.
Aziz Al Sa'afin is The AM Show social media presenter