Transgender athlete sued USA powerlifting over competition ban

Transgender powerlifter Jessie Cooper is suing USA Powerlifting, the sport’s largest US-based entity, because it barred her from competing on the basis of gender identity.

Cooper said at a news conference on Tuesday, “It’s surprising to me that when I applied to compete in my first competition, I was told that I couldn’t compete specifically because I was a trans woman.” Am. ” “I was devastated. I was training for months and until that point I had experienced so much love and community around the game.”

Cooper’s lawsuit, filed Tuesday by Minnesota-based advocacy group Gender Justice in Minnesota state court, claimed that a ban on Cooper and other trans athletes, USA Powerlifting or USAPL, violates the Minnesota Human Rights Act.

The suit also notes that other powerlifting and athletic organizations – at the local, national and international levels – have measures that allow transgender women to participate.

Jessie CooperFor Caroline Yang / NBC News

The International Olympic Committee adopted guidelines in 2015 to consider trans women if their testosterone stays below a certain level for at least 12 months. The International Powerlifting Federation, the parent organization of USA Powerlifting, adopted the IOC’s guidelines, but the international group was not ordered that its national partners follow them.

Cooper’s lawsuit states that she was dismissed from the competition, even though she provided documentation that her testosterone levels had remained within the IOC’s approved limits for two years.

The USAPL denied Ms. Cooper eligibility for the competition because she is a transgender woman, withdrew her contest card because she is a transgender woman, and then adopted a clear ban on participation by transgender female athletes in USAPL competitions Left for, “the lawsuit states.” USAPL discriminated against Jessie Cooper, and continues to do so, because she is a transgender woman. “

USA Powerlifting did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the lawsuit.

‘Powerlifting is not fit for every athlete’

USA Powerlifting had not established guidelines regarding transgender athletes until January 2019, as well as informed Cooper that she could not compete.

“USA Powerlifting is not fit for every athlete and for every medical condition or condition,” the organization’s Transgender Participation Policy states. “Simply, not all powerlifters are eligible to compete in USA powerlifting.”

The policy states that USA Powerlifting is “a sports organization with rules and policies” that “apply to all to provide a level playing field.” In a question-and-answer section about trans women’s inability to compete, the organization states that powerlifting is a “game of skill”, as opposed to a “game of skill”.

“Men naturally have a larger bone structure, higher bone density, stronger connective tissue, and higher muscle density than women,” it says. “These symptoms do not go away even with low levels of testosterone. While MTF [male-to-female] Weak and less muscular than they once might be, the biological benefits given to them at birth are still greater than those of a woman. “

A study published last month in the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that transgender women maintain an athletic advantage over their cisgender peers even after a year on hormone therapy. According to the lead author of the study, however, two years later, transgender women were “substantially equivalent to siegender women”. The findings were based on physical assessments of transgender military service members, not competitive athletes.

Cooper’s story gained national attention in January 2019 when she posted about it on Instagram. He has collaborated with fellow powerlifters and rapes. Ilhan Omar received support from D-Min, describing the USA powerlifting policy as “discriminatory” and “unscientific”.

Cooper said on Tuesday that she started lifting in 2018 and said that training her body for sports empowered her in ways she had not previously imagined.

“As a trans person, it takes on extra meaning, because our bodies regularly politicize and perform,” she said.

The news conference featured video clips of several professional athletes expressing their support for Cooper, including a former football player for the US Women’s National Team and a member of the Minnesota Vikings football team.

“There are a set of factors that help determine someone’s success in the competition,” said Gender Justice Advisory Director Erin Maye Quede on Tuesday. “The determination of anti-trans propaganda on a single factor makes women bare their plots to eliminate harsh ideas about how to look and sound and act.”

Cooper said she hopes her trial will open doors for other transgender athletes.

“I grew up chasing Olympic dreams, and I was taken away from me in the sport of powerlifting,” Cooper said. “I don’t want anyone to experience me and other trans athletes and continue to experience.”

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