By Jon Dougherty
(NationalSentinel) An American powerlifting organization is facing a discrimination complaint in Minnesota after it said that JayCee Cooper, who was born a biological man, could not compete in any women’s events.
USA Powerlifting is preparing to defend its policy against any impending legal actions Cooper takes in order to keep it in place because they officials with the organization believe that it is important in maintaining federal protections for women, The Daily Caller reported.
“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 news site.
Though the policy isn’t new, the organization empaneled a group of experts earlier this year to see if it matches up with scientific data and research after their disagreement with Cooper drew national attention late last year.
The organization said the experts’ results were clear in that it would be unfair to allow biological men to compete with biological women, The Daily Caller noted.
OutSports reported that Minnesota-based Gender Justice, a legal organization, filed a complaint with the state’s Department of Human Rights on Cooper’s behalf last week.
Gender Justice has accused USA Powerlifting of violating a 1993 law that prohibits discrimination on . the basis of sexual identity and orientation, OutSports said, adding that the organization banned Cooper from competing in Minnesota’s State Bench Press Championship, which was held in January.
“As a powerlifter and a transgender person, I’m no stranger to a challenge,” Cooper said, according to OutSports.
In a statement from Gender Justice that was reported by The Daily Caller, the organization said: “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.”
The news site noted further that while the policy had not been made public before the dispute with Cooper began, USA Powerlifting had nevertheless blocked five other people from competing since 2015 for transgender issues.
NBC News, meanwhile, reported that Cooper was informed by USAPL biological males have a “competitive advantage” over biological females, according to an email exchange between Cooper and Dr. Kristopher Hunt, who heads the organization’s committee reviewing medical exemption applications.
“Male-to-female transgenders are not allowed to compete as females in our static strength sport as it is a direct competitive advantage,” Hunt wrote in one email to Cooper, NBC News reported.
Maile added in a statement to The Daily Caller, “To allow those born and who went through puberty as males to compete as females would be inherently discriminatory against a federally protected class: women. Further, allowing transgender males to use androgens when no other category of athlete is allowed them represents and unfair advantage of these individuals over those born as men and who are not allowed such use.”
In May at the organization’s annual meeting, Cooper attempted to change the policy but was unsuccessful, The Daily Caller reported. After the panel of experts presented their evidence highlighting the advantages biological males hold over females, voting members rejected Cooper’s application by a vote of 54-6.
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