Entertainment Sports Laurel Hubbard, First Openly Transgender Olympian, Cleared by IOC to Compete in Tokyo Summer Games "You cannot change rules during ongoing competitions," said IOC President Thomas Bach, upholding New Zealand weightlifter Laurel Hubbard's eligibility as the first openly transgender Olympian By Glenn Garner Glenn Garner Instagram Twitter Glenn Garner is a Writer/Reporter who works heavily with PEOPLE's Movies and TV verticals. Since graduating from Northern Arizona University with a dual major in journalism and photography, he got his professional start at OUT Magazine, The Advocate and Teen Vogue, and he's since consistently kept his finger on the pulse of the LGBTQ community. His first book The Guncle Guide was released in 2020 and was featured on Katie Couric's list of 100 recommended books of the year. People Editorial Guidelines Published on July 18, 2021 02:33 PM Share Tweet Pin Email Photo: Scott Barbour/Getty Laurel Hubbard's qualification for the Tokyo Olympics has been the subject of debate, as she's the first openly transgender athlete to compete. The Team New Zealand weightlifter, 43, has been cleared to compete in the Summer Games, as the International Olympic Committee (IOC) upheld their rules on Saturday, while committing to reevaluate the policy in the future, according to Reuters. "The rules for qualification have been established by the International Weightlifting Federation before the qualifications started," said IOC President Thomas Bach during a news conference. "These rules apply, and you cannot change rules during ongoing competitions." Olympian Michelle Carter Says Having to Choose Between Being Feminine or Athletic Is 'Outdated' Although Hubbard made history by qualifying for the women's 87-kilogram event in May, her victory has been shrouded in scrutiny over the hot-button issue of her gender identity. While critics have claimed that transgender athletes benefit from unfair physical advantages, doctors and scientists say that is an oversimplification not supported by the facts. "At the same time, the IOC is in an inquiry phase with all different stakeholders... to review these rules and finally to come up with some guidelines which cannot be rules because this is a question where there is no one-size-fits-all solution," Bach said. "It differs from sport to sport." The IOC issued new guidelines in 2015, which stipulate that a transgender athlete can compete as a woman if their testosterone levels remain below 10 nanomoles per liter for a minimum of 12 months ahead of their first competition, according to Reuters. How the Tokyo Summer Olympics Will Be Different Than Years Past "The rules are in place and the rules have to be applied and you cannot change the rules during an ongoing qualification system," Bach explained. "This is what all the athletes of the world are relying on: that the rules are being applied." Listen below to our daily podcast PEOPLE Every Day for more on Laurel Hubbard. Hubbard, who competed in men's weightlifting competitions before transitioning in 2013, has been the subject of controversy before. In 2018, Australia's weightlifting association unsuccessfully attempted to have her blocked from competing in the Commonwealth Games. RELATED VIDEO: Gymnast Jordan Chiles' Mom Opens Up About Reporting to Prison on the Day of Women's Team Olympic Final Most recently, Belgian weightlifter Anna Vanbellinghen spoke out against Hubbard's Olympic eligibility, which she said was "unfair" and "like a bad joke." "It's not my role or my goal to change people's minds," Hubbard said to Radio New Zealand in 2017. "I would hope they would support me, but it's not for me to make them do so." To learn more about all the Olympic hopefuls, visit TeamUSA.org. The Tokyo Olympics begin July 23rd on NBC.