USA Powerlifting Forced To Allow Transgender Athletes To Compete In Women's Division After Legal Complaint

The latest news in the trans world is that USA Powerlifting is now forced to include transgender athletes in its competitions, due to a lawsuit filed by JayCee Cooper.

By Gina Florio2 min read
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The story of William Thomas, a swimmer at the University of Pennsylvania who grew out his hair, identified as a female, and changed his name to Lia, became headline news across the country. He won multiple medals at women's swim meets and broke records by tens of seconds. It soon became clear that he was exposing his male genitalia in the women's locker room on a regular basis, making many of the women feel uncomfortable and violated. It's now strongly suspected that Lia Thomas suffers from autogynephilia, an abnormal sexual desire that results in men being aroused by themselves dressing and acting like women. However, Thomas was eventually banned from swimming in future competitions after the swimming governing body ruled against transgender athletes participating. It seems as though USA Powerlifting has been dealt a different fate.

USA Powerlifting Forced To Allow Transgender Athletes To Compete in Women's Division after Legal Complaint

In 2021, powerlifter JayCee Cooper filed a legal complaint against USA Powerlifting (USAPL) for its policy against transgender individuals competing at an elite level. A Minnesota District Court ruled that the USAPL had discriminated against Cooper and other trans athletes. Judge Patrick Diamond wrote, "USAPL denied [Cooper] the full and equal enjoyment of services, support and facilities the USAPL offered its members. It separated Cooper and segregated her and, in doing so, failed to fully perform the contractual obligations it agreed to when it accepted Cooper’s money.” Allegedly, USAPL has violated the state's Human Rights Act by banning Cooper from competing.

USAPL stated that trans athletes have an "unfair competitive advantage" over biological females due to the hormonal and physical differences between the two groups. "Our position has been aimed at balancing the needs of cis- and transgender women whose capacities differ significantly in purely strength sports," Larry Maile, USAPL President, said in a statement.

But the ruling said that there is "harm" 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."

Cooper said in an interview that he was "fed up" with how he and trans people were being treated. "Enough was enough," he said. "I feel mostly relief. I think we needed a win here, and it feels good to get that."

USAPL plans to appeal this decision.

Cooper has been sharing some of his lawsuit on his Instagram, asking people to donate to in order to support trans athletes.

He refers to himself as a "trans advocate" on his page and posts memes in support of athletes who identify as trans. Last week, he posted a graphic showing that he won his lawsuit against USAPL: "a win for transgender rights in sports!"

While trans activists may be celebrating this, most people online are appalled and horrified on behalf of female athletes in the powerlifting world. Twitter CEO and Tesla founder Elon Musk tweeted, "This is extremely unfair to anyone with XX chromosomes!" Others suggested that the female athletes don't compete at all in order to make it clear that they won't participate in these shenanigans. Some commented as parents or as athletes, stating that this was incredibly unfair, as biological men clearly have a physical advantage over women, particularly when it comes to strength and weightlifting.