USA Powerlifting must allow biological males to compete against women, a Ramsey County judge ruled last week.
JayCee Cooper, a biological male who identifies as a woman, filed a lawsuit against USA Powerlifting in 2021 after being barred from competing in women’s competitions. Cooper also filed a complaint with the Minnesota Department of Human Rights in 2019.
“Our rules state that divisions are based on sex, and that analysis of scientific data reflects the inherent differences in strength in powerlifting, between biological males (XY) and biological females (XX). This difference is so significant that reduction of androgens does not, and cannot overcome these differences,” USA Powerlifting said at the time.
“To allow those born and who went through puberty as males to compete as females would be inherently discriminatory against a federally protected class: women. Further, allowing transgender males to use androgens when no other category of athlete is allowed them represents an unfair advantage and is against the founding principles of USA Powerlifting,” they added.
In his 46-page ruling, Judge Patrick Diamond asserted that Cooper “was discriminated against because of her sexual orientation and because of her sex.”
“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 [Minnesota Human Rights Act] prohibits,” said Diamond, a Dayton appointee.
According to the New York Post, USA Powerlifting officials are considering an appeal.
“Trans athletes across the country deserve the same rights and protections as everyone else, and we deserve equitable opportunities to compete in the sports we love,” Cooper said in a statement. “I jumped through every hoop, cleared every hurdle to be able to compete with USA Powerlifting, but was met with a retroactive ban on trans athletes.”