After losing a discrimination case, USA Powerlifting will now allow transgender athletes to compete in female competitions.
JayCee Cooper, a trans athlete, won her case against the federation last week after it banned her from competing against biological females.
With Cooper’s victory comes a mandate that the federation “cease and desist from all unfair discriminatory practices” because of sexual orientation and gender identity.
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The decision has angered powerlifters born female, one of whom spoke about the case on “Tucker Carlson Tonight” Wednesday.
“We’re outraged. We’re angry. We’re hurt. We’re offended. We’re basically every emotion except for happy,” Canadian powerlifter April Hutchinson told Fox News Channel.
Hutchinson said female athletes have feared backlash for speaking out against those born male competing in their competitions, but Hutchinson is not afraid to speak out and has gotten support from her competitors.
“There was times where I couldn’t sleep at night. I’ve been battling this for about two years now,” Hutchinson explained. “Women are coming out … saying, ‘Thank you so much for standing up for women in sports.’
“A lot of women are silenced and feel silenced and that they have no voice, or they’re afraid to speak up in fear of maybe getting kicked out of the federation, to be called names for backlash. But, no, we’re growing stronger and louder, and the amount of support is overwhelming, actually.”
Cooper filed a complaint in 2019 with the Minnesota Department of Human Rights, alleging the organization violated the state’s Human Rights Act by banning her and other trans athletes from competing in female competitions.
She then filed a lawsuit against USA Powerlifitng in state court in 2021.
“I was fed up with the way that I was being treated. I was fed up with the way that my community was being treated, and enough was enough,” Cooper told KARE-TV.
“I feel mostly relief. I think we needed a win here, and it feels good to get that.”
“Our position has been aimed at balancing the needs of cis- and transgender women whose capacities differ significantly in purely strength sports,” USA Powerlifting President Larry Maile said in a statement.
However, the court cited “increased risk of depression and suicide, lack of access to coaching and practice facilities or other performance suppression common to transgender persons,” as competitive disadvantages for transgender competitors.
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According to Open Powerlifting, Cooper last competed at the 2022 AMP Classic Open Nationals in Texas, where she finished in third place out of three competitors in her division.
Cooper twice competed against a lone competitor — Rebecca Richnofsky — in the women’s raw 198+ open category in 2019, winning both times. In the 2019 USPA National Championships, she finished in fourth out of four competitors in that category.