The proliferation of transgender activism in recent years has infiltrated various aspects of modern culture, including the controversial push to allow biological men to compete against women in gender-segregated sports.
Many women’s rights advocates and female athletes have pushed back against the trend, arguing that, even after undergoing hormone-replacement treatment, transgender women have inherent advantages based on their masculine bone structure and muscle mass.
Perhaps nowhere is this advantage more pronounced than in the world of competitive weightlifting.
In 2021, weightlifter Laurel Hubbard became the first transgender individual to compete in the Olympic Games. Although the outing did not result in a medal, it intensified a widespread debate that continues to this day.
Two years before Hubbard competed in the Olympics, transgender powerlifter JayCee Cooper launched a legal challenge against the USA Powerlifting team in hopes of being allowed to compete as a woman.
The 34-year-old transgender athlete began taking drugs in 2014 to reduce testosterone levels and argued that this should be enough to qualify as a female athlete under applicable rules.
Cooper compared the situation to previous civil rights issues, asserting: “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.”
District Court Judge Patrick Diamond of Minnesota, where the powerlifting organization is headquartered, agreed with Cooper’s argument, as evidenced in a ruling he handed down last month that referred to Cooper using female pronouns.
JayCee Cooper, a transgender athlete, won a discrimination case against USA Powerlifting this week after the federation banned her from competing in female events. Now biological men can beat women all the time. Not a peep from the pink hats. Wait till you see women’s boxing. pic.twitter.com/pa3DweO8HI
— Lance Wallnau (@lancewallnau) March 5, 2023
“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,” the Democrat-appointed judge declared. “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 ruling gave the league two weeks to alter its policy regarding transgender participants.
For his part, USA Powerlifting President Larry Maile defended the status quo, explaining: “Our position has been aimed at balancing the needs of cis- and transgender women whose capacities differ significantly in purely strength sports.”