USA Powerlifting must allow trans athletes to compete in the women’s division after transgender lifter JayCee Cooper won her discrimination case against the organization.
The federation was mandated to “cease and desist from all unfair discriminatory practices” related to sexual orientation and gender identity and reverse its former policy of barring transgender athletes within two weeks, according to the ruling, obtained by Fox News.
Cooper filed a complaint with the Minnesota Department of Human Rights in 2019 claiming the organization had violated that state’s Human Rights Act after she was barred from competing in the women’s division.
In 2021, she filed a lawsuit against USA Powerlifting in state court.
“I was fed up with the way that I was being treated, I was fed up with the way that my community was being treated and enough was enough,” Cooper told KARE after winning the case.
“After years of experiencing discrimination from USA Powerlifting, and the backlash that has occurred due to that, of course I have complex feelings about the sport,” Cooper said. “But I think that this win – [it] is a representation of where we can move forward.”
According to the 46-page ruling, “The harm is in making a person pretend to be something different, the implicit message being that who they are is less than. That is the very essence of separation and segregation, and it is what the MHRA prohibits.”
USA Powerlifting officials said they are considering appealing the decision.
“Our position has been aimed at balancing the needs of cis- and transgender women, whose capacities differ significantly in purely strength sports,” said organization president Lawrence J. Maile in a statement to KARE.
“We have received a summary judgment decision from the Court finding us liable for discrimination. We respectfully disagree with the Court’s conclusions. We are considering all of our options, including appeal,” Maile said.
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