USA Powerlifting is facing a discrimination complaint in Minnesota over its transgender athlete policy after it said JayCee Cooper, a biological man, couldn’t compete in women’s events. The federation’s president told The Daily Caller it’s prepared to go to court to keep the policy in place, and framed the policy as protecting the federal rights of women.
“At some point, we are going to have to defend the biology and stand on women being a protected class, and it might as well start in Minnesota,” Larry Maile, USA Powerlifting president, told the Caller. The policy is not new, but the federation commissioned a group of experts to find out if it’s backed by science earlier this year, after the dispute with Cooper thrust them into the media spotlight late last year. The results were clear: It’s unfair to allow biological men to compete with women.
A Minnesota legal nonprofit, Gender Justice, filed the complaint with the Minnesota Department of Human Rights last week on behalf of Cooper, asserting the policy illegally discriminates against people on the basis of gender identity. Sexual orientation is a protected class in Minnesota.
“Like other athletes, [Cooper] worked to ensure that she met the stated policies for competition, and went above and beyond by addressing any potential questions about her gender identity, only to have USA Powerlifting respond with a new, retroactive blanket ban on transgender athletes,” Gender Justice said in a statement announcing the filing.