Trans women can compete in USA Powerlifting, ruling says
Transgender women can now compete in USA Powerlifting after a court ruled in favor of athlete JayCee Cooper, who filed a discrimination case against the federation after she was banned from competing in women’s events.
USA Powerlifting must revise its existing policy pertaining to trans women in its events by next Monday — two weeks after the initial ruling. CBS News has reached out to USA Powerlifting for a statement, but has yet to hear back.
“The harm is in making a person pretend to be something different, the implicit message being that who they are is less than,” wrote Judge Patrick C. Diamond in the ruling.
The judge also wrote that while USAPL focused on the notion of “fairness” in its decision to bar trans women from competition, citing an unfair advantage, “The USAPL’s evidence of competitive advantage does not take into account any competitive disadvantage a transgender athlete might face from, for example, increased risk of depression and suicide, lack of access to coaching and practice facilities, or other performance suppression common to transgender persons.”
The case was originally filed in Ramsey County District Court in St. Paul, Minnesota, in January of 2021, after Cooper was denied entry into USA Powerlifting competitions on the basis of her gender identity. The USAPL subsequently instituted a policy that banned all transgender women from its competitions.
On Feb. 27, a judge ruled in Cooper’s favor, and found USA Powerlifting guilty of having discriminated against her.
In light of the decision, Cooper posted a graphic with a caption that read “We won!” on her Instagram, directing followers to a link in her bio that leads to a statement from Gender Justice, a Minnesota-based organization that fights for gender equity in the U.S.
“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 the Gender Justice statement.
“I am thrilled that this ruling recognizes our rights and our humanity and hopefully opens doors for transgender athletes everywhere to participate fully in sports,” she added.
There was an outpouring of support on social media for Cooper, with one user writing, “This is so huge. I can’t imagine how exhausting it was to go to battle for this, but this fight is so important. Thank you.”
Gender Justice also tweeted their support for Cooper, calling her “courageous and strong” and “victorious.”