The BarBend 20

JayCee Cooper
Photo by Mariah Hamm
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JayCee Cooper

JayCee Cooper has been a champion for LBTQIA+ rights in the sport of powerlifting. After their application to compete as a woman in a USA Powerlifting meet was rejected in February of 2019, Cooper filed a discrimination claim against the USAPL and took to Instagram and relentlessly brought the issue to light. Then, in January of 2021, Cooper filed a discrimination lawsuit against the USAPL.

Cooper’s story garnered national attention, which sparked athlete support within the powerlifting community and conversation around and within the USAPL. 

She also serves as the Co-Chair of the Pull For Pride organization, an advocacy and fundraising program under the women’s strength coalition. Cooper is also an ambassador of Athlete Ally, an organization that educates different communities about “the obstacles to inclusion” that LBTGQIA+ people in sports face.

With a 149.6-kilogram squat, 99.7-kilogram bench, and 174.6-kilogram deadlift, Cooper knows what it’s like to complete a heavy lift. More apparent, through their fierce commitment to athlete inclusion, is Cooper’s knack for lifting up others.