Tokyo Olympics: Tensions flare at London protests over Kiwi transgender Olympian Laurel Hubbard

Dozen of protesters have stood vigil outside of the New Zealand High Commision in London, voicing their objections to Kiwi transgender athlete Laurel Hubbard's Olympics selection.

Hubbard - who transitioned from man to woman in 2013 - is among five NZ weightlifters to compete at Tokyo next month, where she'll become the first ever transgender Olympian.

Her selection has caused widespread outrage across the world, with the likes of UK media commentator Piers Morgan calling Hubbard's inclusion a "disaster for women's sport".

Protesters outside NZ House.
Protesters outside NZ House. Photo credit: File

Among the signs carried by streetside protesters were 'Laurel Hubbard is a man', 'Keep men out of women's sports', ' while chanting "no men on women's teams".

"I'm here today because I know sex is binary and I believe we need to protect women's sports, because men are biologically faster and stronger than women," said one protester.

Another said: "We don't think that any biological male should be competing in female sports, that's it.

Hubbard competing at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
Hubbard competing at the 2018 Commonwealth Games. Photo credit: Getty

"I don't believe that women have fought for decades for our rights to be  transduced by men pretending they're women."

A handful of people took exception with the nature of the protests and screaming matches broke out between the two factions.

"You bigoted prick," shouted one man at a protester.

"It's disgusting," said another. "If one woman wants to do the sport she is good at, you cannot come and protest against her.

Protesters clash with people taking objection to their chants.
Protesters clash with people taking objection to their chants. Photo credit: File

"They don't care about her voice, they're not listening to her. They should be ashamed of themselves."

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has been among those who have supported Hubbard's Olympics selection, saying "all parties have simply followed the rules".

University of Toledo professor Jamie Taylor - an expert and author on transgender rights and policy - believes the widespread backlash that's greeted Hubbard's inclusion will see more restrictions in place for future Games.

"I'm not going to be surprised if we do see more restrictions in place, because of the backlash that's building here," Taylor has told Newshub last week.

"She's in a no-win situation to me."

One of Hubbard's potential rivals in Tokyo - Belgian Anna Vanbellinghen - says the situation was "like a bad joke".

"Anyone that has trained weightlifting at a high level knows this to be true in their bones - this particular situation is unfair to the sport and to the athletes," Vanbellinghen has told Olympics news website insidethegames.