Laurel Hubbard, who earlier this year became the first trans weightlifter to represent New Zealand in the Australian International, has opened up about the personal impact of being publicly criticised.

Hubbard has since qualified for the Commonwealth Games and been the subject of ongoing debate about trans women in sports.

After months of keeping a low profile, she opened up in an interview with Radio New Zealand about the effect public criticism has had on her, Pink News has reported.

Hubbard said she was “not a robot” and had to “block out the criticism”.

She said she had been hurt by the public backlash against her, but that she believes society has come further towards accepting trans people.

“I think ten years ago people weren’t ready for an athlete like myself, and perhaps some aren’t ready now,” she said.

“Not everyone supports me, not everyone accepts me but there are people out there that do, that’s been great.

“I had to wait until the world changed and I’m glad it did.”

Hubbard has endured plenty of transphobic criticism from within the sporting world as well as the general public.

Michael Keelan, head of the Australian Weightlifting Federation said, “I personally don’t think it’s a level playing field.

“We’re in a power sport which is normally related to masculine tendencies… where you’ve got that aggression, you’ve got the right hormones, then you can lift bigger weights.

“That’s my personal view and I think it’s shared by a lot of people in the sporting world.”

Gender transition typically leaves trans women with lower testosterone levels than cis women.

Hubbard’s hormone levels are well within the guidelines of the International Olympic Committee for female athletes.

“It’s not my role or my goal to change people’s minds,” she said.

“I’m not here to change the world, I’m just here to be myself.”

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