JayCee Cooper, a transgender powerlifter born a male, has won a big victory in liberal Minnesota after a court ruled that USA Powerlifting violated Cooper’s rights under state law by barring him from competing as a woman.
Cooper, 34, claims he transitioned to being a woman in 2014 and takes an anti-androgen drug that substantially decreases the testosterone in his body, the New York Daily News reported in 2021.
But in 2018, Cooper says he was sent a letter by USA Powerlifting telling him that he was banned from competing as a woman because “male-to-female transgender people are not allowed to compete as females in our static strength sport as it is a direct competitive advantage.”
Cooper soon launched a lawsuit against the organization claiming discrimination under the Minnesota Human Rights Act. This week a court agreed with Cooper.
District Court Judge Patrick Diamond, appointed to the bench by liberal Democrat Gov. Mark Dayton in 2012, filed his ruling in favor of Cooper’s attack on USA Powerlifting’s ban.
“By denying Cooper the right to participate in the female category, the category consistent with her self-identification, USAPL denied her the full and equal enjoyment of the services, support, and facilities USAPL offered its members,” Diamond wrote in his ruling, according to SB Nation. “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 and issued Cooper a membership card.”
The judge gave USA Powerlifting two weeks to submit revised rules that comply with the state’s left-wing law.
Cooper celebrated his win.
“I fought as hard as I could to ensure that every trans athlete has the opportunity to compete, and be recognized with full dignity and humanity,” Cooper exclaimed. “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.”
"Marsha P. Johnson, and the Stonewall riots, and the plethora of Black trans advocates and activists throughout history—and the way they've led this fight—I am just one small piece that is built off of that," says @JayCeeIsAlive 💚 https://t.co/tGT4A9112Y
— Gender Justice (@GenderJustice) March 1, 2023
The weightlifting organization initially explained its ban, saying that allowing men who claim to be women to compete against natural-born women is not fair.
“Men naturally have a larger bone structure, higher bone density, stronger connective tissue, and higher muscle density than women. These traits, even with reduced levels of testosterone do not go away. While [male-to-female athletes] may be weaker and less muscle than they once were, the biological benefits given them at birth still remain over that of a female,” the organization said on its website at the time.
Cooper’s lawsuit became a cause célèbre and even brought extremist leftist Rep. Ilhan Omar (D, MN) to the weightlifter’s side.
In 2019, Omar sent a letter to then Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison demanding that the AG’s office investigate USA Powerlifting for its ban, calling it a case of discrimination and also said the ban is “unscientific.”
Under the Minnesota Human Rights Act, discrimination against anyone based on their gender identity is illegal. This includes in public accommodations, and in Minnesota, organizations such as USA Powerlifting. In fact, just last month a Minnesota jury awarded Ms. Christina Ginther $20,000 after the Independent Women’s Football League refused to allow her to participate because she is transgender.
Omar added, “I urge you to reconsider this discriminatory, unscientific policy and follow the example of the International Olympic Committee. The myth that trans women have a “direct competitive advantage” is not supported by medical science, and it continues to stoke fear and violence against one of the most at-risk communities in the world.”
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