Unsurprisingly there has been a fair bit of fuss about 43-year-old Laurel Hubbard's inclusion in the New Zealand Olympic Weightlifting team. She was always likely to be one of a handful of athletes globally that had a chance of being the first transgender athlete ever to compete at an Olympics. Given trans folk have been eligible for the last eight Olympics (summer & winter combined), it has been a very long wait!
As usual, there are lots of media lies being told about a trans person participating in elite sport - (Piers Morgan arguably being the most ignorant of the persecutors?) - that Laurel smashed records and had advantages because of her alleged "male" body.
Laurel's best combination lift as a female athlete is 285kg (she was lifting heavier weights as a male junior weightlifter 24 years ago). In comparison, the current world record in her weightlifting class is 335kg set by Chinese lifter Li Wenwen back in April of this year.
In short, Laurel is behind Li Wenwen by an astounding 50kg - in layman's language, that is equivalent to TWO sacks of potatoes you might buy from a farm gate!
But why is she so far behind?
The reason is undoubtedly Testosterone (T) deprivation.
I know about the problem myself, and it is beginning to cause me considerable concern - I am particularly worried about my heart.
Like Laurel, I have had bottom surgery - pretty much two years ago to this very day. I am a huge believer in exercise and measure my performance on an exercise bike over the same time and same level. In the last six months, my best distance has dropped from 9.11 km in thirty minutes to 8.6 - that is a loss of around 5%.
This loss of performance has been occurring month by month now for the last two years.
I have also noticed that I can not lift more than 25kg and recently could not lift myself out of a bath! Another measurement can be taken from doing press-ups. Now I don't want to kid you these are done while in a horizontal position on the floor - they are not - I do them at an angle pushing up from the worktop while waiting for the kettle to boil! But I have fallen from being able to complete 30 without stopping to now struggling to reach 20.
My Testosterone level has constantly been falling, too - my last blood test (taken just a couple of weeks) ago showed a T level of just 0.4 - it has fallen 33% within the last year. An average male T level is around 600 nanograms per deciliter (ng/dL).
Testosterone deprivation is causing other issues, I have had a real battle with weight gain and tiredness - more worryingly, I have now recently learnt that I am potentially damaging my heart.
I was not aware of T deprivation until my friend Kirsti Miller informed me of the problem.
"Laurel has the issue too" - she told me. Then she messaged me a whole heap of info which I gave to my endocrinologist when I saw him last Friday. After reading the info (at the bottom of this piece), he immediately replied that it made total sense and that he would prescribe me "Testogel."
Where should my T level be as a woman?
Well, a natal female will typically have levels of between 15 & 70 nanograms per deciliter (ng/dL) of blood. Trans women athletes, though, must be below 10. So as you can appreciate, my level of just 0.4 is very deficient.
So trans women who have had surgery - please learn the lesson - yes, cutting T is a must. But for your health, keep it to the lower levels of a natal female - or like Laurel Hubbard be prepared to pay potentially a very heavy price.
I aim to get my T up to about 12-15.
Work in progress.
Now here is Kirsti's info - please show this to your endo!
XY TRANSITIONED FEMALE (POST OPERATIVE) ENDOCRINE SYSTEM” XY TRANSITIONED FEMALE (POST OPERATIVE) PRIMARY SINGLE HORMONE: TESTOSTERONE The hypothalmus makes gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH), which controls the release of other hormones from the pituitary gland. Luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) are the two important messenger hormones that your pituitary gland makes, which then act on the testicles to make testosterone to regulate overall healthy body functions and sperm development.
”ANDROGEN DEPRIVATION BIOLOGICAL HEALTH IMPACTS XY TRANSITIONED FEMALE (POST OPERATIVE)” Complete androgen deprivation is another term for non-existent production of the sole primary hormone required testosterone, due to a bilateral orchiectomy (removal of the gonads) to create the vulva. Though XY chromosomes, requires testosterone levels to be (T>14nmol or higher) to be healthy and relieved of symptons of complete androgen deficiency. Transitioned women, do not retain gonads responsible for hormone production, the circulation and communications loop of the endocrine system is disrupted, organs, glands are no longer linked and are acting independently on their own.
The symptoms of CAD result in decreases in patient quality of life long-term. Common physiologial contraindications: loss of sexual and mental health, complete muscle atrophy, increase in subcutaneous fat levels, acclerated bone loss, premature abnormal aging, large drop in hematocrite levels, cardio vascular health, ceasing of primary endocrine function and protein|androgen synthesis, permanent androgen receptor atrophy, increased vulnerability to coronary heart disease, prone to joint health and injuries, elevated insulin levels.
Authored by Steph @PlaceSteph