Several people online have called Team GB gold medal winner James Guy for his “transphobic tweet” about trans Olympian Laurel Hubbard. (Karl Bridgeman/Getty Images for The National Lottery/Stanislav Krasilnikov/TASS)
Team GB swimmer James Guy has been condemned over a “transphobic” tweet questioning the fairness of Laurel Hubbard’s inclusion at the Olympics.
Guy, who won two golds and a silver medal at the Tokyo Olympics, drew criticism for a recent tweet he posted and pinned to his profile that appeared to criticise Hubbard, a trans woman, being named to the New Zealand weightlifting team.
Retweeting a Reuters story about Hubbard on 22 July, Guy wrote: “How’s that fair, put me in the women’s 100 fly then.”
After his Olympics success drew attention to the tweet, Guy was widely criticised, with some urging Team GB to “sort this out”.
absolutely grim that @TeamGB’s @Jimbob95goon has a transphobic tweet pinned to his profile. win all the medals you want but you won’t be worthy of any respect while you’re using your platform to push a narrative of hate
— mjr✨ (@mjrgrs) August 3, 2021
— Dave (@isntdave) August 3, 2021
— Dave C (@DaveOfYork) August 3, 2021
Many pointed out the obvious: that Laurel Hubbard qualified for the Olympics fairly.
As Dr Richard Budgett, medical and science director of the International Olympic Committee, said before Hubbard’s Tokyo debut: “Laurel Hubbard is a woman and is competing under the rules of her federation.”
The ACLU has previously condemned the notion that trans athletes could have an unfair advantage over cisgender athletes. The advocacy group explained that trans athletes “vary in athletic ability just like cisgender athletes”, and noted that the exclusion of trans woman in sports “hurts all women”.
It said the exclusion of certain athletes “invites gender policing that could subject any woman to invasive tests or accusations of being ‘too masculine’ or ‘too good’ at their sport to be a ‘real’ woman”.
Anne Liberman, director of policy and programmes at LGBT+ sports advocacy group Athlete Ally, argued to Mic earlier this year that the concept of fairness means little in sport.
“When we look at the elite level, we love sports because sports aren’t fair,” they said, noting that many cisgender athletes at the top level possess physical predispositions that help them excel in sports, such as Michael Phelps and Brady Ellison.
“I don’t think there’s ever been a moment whereas an athletic community, we have been weaker when we include more people,” Liberman added. “We’re always stronger as an athletic community when we include everybody because sports is equal opportunity.”
Nonetheless, Laurel Hubbard has faced heavy criticism and outright transphobia throughout her Olympics journey, which ended on Monday (2 August) after she failed to progress through in the +87kg women’s weightlifting final.
When she spoke to the press after the event, Hubbard thanked the New Zealand Olympic Committee, Japanese organisers and the International Olympic Committee for being “extraordinarily supportive”.
She described how the groups “reaffirmed their commitment to the principles of Olympianism” and demonstrated that “sport is something all people around the world can do”.
“It’s inclusive, it’s accessible and I think that’s just really fabulous,” Hubbard said. “I know that my participation in these games has not been entirely without controversy.”
British Swimming declined to directly comment on Guy’s tweet when approached for comment by PinkNews. Instead, it simply said that it is an “open and inclusive organisation” and lauded its “Pride in Water” network set up last year to support LGBT+ athletes and other individuals in swimming, as well as its delivery of “regular diversity and inclusion education for all staff and athletes”.
PinkNews has contacted representatives for James Guy and Team GB for comment.