A petition calling for transgender people to be banned from competing at the Olympics has been taken down.
More than 30,000 people signed the petition, which claimed that 'women and girls are being sacrificed by the IOC (International Olympic Committee) as an easy fix for transgender demands for inclusion'.
It comes as New Zealand's weightlifter Laurel Hubbard prepares to become the first openly transgender athlete to compete in a different gender category to that which they were born later today (Monday 2 August).
The petition read: "Male-born athletes who identify as women are taking women's places on sports teams, breaking women's sporting records and insisting they must share changing and showering facilities with women.
"This is unfair to women due to the incontrovertible physical advantage that transwomen have."
The petition was removed after it was 'flagged as hate speech', according to the Daily Mail.
LADbible has contacted Change.org for comment.
In 2015, the IOC made amendments to its qualifying guidelines, allowing trans athletes to compete in women's events depending on their testosterone levels.
Hubbard competed as a male weightlifter before transitioning in 2012 and returning to the sport in 2017.
South Island-based 43-year-old Hubbard will compete in the women's super heavyweight category, and she applauded the IOC for allowing her to make history.
She said: "The Olympic Games are a global celebration of our hopes, our ideals and our values.
"I commend the IOC for its commitment to making sport inclusive and accessible."
Following her selection for the games, Hubbard said she was 'grateful and humbled by the kindness and support that has been given to me by so many New Zealanders'.
She continued: "When I broke my arm at the Commonwealth Games three years ago, I was advised that my sporting career had likely reached its end. But your support, your encouragement, and your aroha [love] carried me through the darkness.
"The last eighteen months has shown us all that there is strength in kinship, in community, and in working together towards a common purpose. The mana [power/honour] of the silver fern comes from all of you and I will wear it with pride."
Hubbard is ranked 15th in the world and will also become the third oldest lifter in Olympic history.
Addressing the controversy surrounding her inclusion, Joanna Harper - an IOC advisor from Loughborough University - told Sky News: "Yes, Laurel has advantages - but within this group of 14 women that she is competing against, Laurel is probably somewhere in the middle of the pack.
"She could theoretically finish anywhere from third to 14th - and isn't that sort of the definition of fair competition that a lot of things could potentially happen?"
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