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Trans Powerlifter JayCee Cooper Files Lawsuit Against USAPL For Discrimination

The USAPL has been accused of violations of the Minnesota Human Rights Act.

On Jan. 12, 2021, lawyers for powerlifter JayCee Cooper officially filed charges against USA Powerlifting (USAPL) and USAPL Minnesota in Ramsey County Court. According to Outsports, the lawsuit alleges violations of the Minnesota Human Rights Act (MHRA). In a news conference the morning of the court filing, Cooper said:

I don’t want anyone to experience what I and other trans athletes have and continue to experience. Having our basic human dignity and our opportunities denied because we are trans.

Per the Minnesota Department of Human Rights (MDHR), the MHRA is “a state law that prohibits discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations, public services, education, credit, and business based on a protected class, such as race, religion, disability, national origin, sex, marital status, familial status, age, sexual orientation, and gender identity.”

The lawsuit comes after two years of contention between trans athletes and policies set by USAPL, including an initial complaint to the MDHR in June 2019 and a protest at the 2019 USAPL Minnesota State Championships. The protesters — members of the powerlifting gym The Movement Minneapolis — went 0 for 9, standing on the platform without attempting their squats, bench presses, or deadlifts.

The entire news conference, which was held via Zoom, can be view below courtesy of the video from Gender Justice‘s Facebook page:


[Related: IATBP Is Transforming Powerlifting And Bodybuilding For Trans And Nonbinary Lifters]

In January 2019, the USAPL updated their “Transgender Participation Policy” (TPP), which states that, “Simply, not all powerlifters are eligible to compete in USA Powerlifting” and went to specify further that that meant trans powerlifters. The TPP cites the International Powerlifting Federation (IPF) Medical Committee’s “consistent” position that “participation of male to female transgender athletes in our sport compromises fair play.”

The USAPL’s TPP states, “testosterone or other androgens, commonly used to assist in [the] transition from female to male. By virtue of the anabolic nature of these compounds, they are not allowed.” Their reason being that “…significant advantages are had, including but not limited to increased body and muscle mass, bone density, bone structure, and connective tissue.”

Cooper announced the news of the lawsuit in a post on their Instagram page with the following caption:

“Excluding trans people from sports is the latest strategy that anti-LGBTQ+ organizations are using to further discriminate against transgender people. Refusing to recognize their identities is the first tactic employed by those who want to erase trans people from all facets of public life, not just sports. Enough.”


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by JayCee Cooper (@jayceeisalive)

[Related: Watch VICE’s Documentary About The Struggles Of Transgender Powerlifters]

In response to an inquiry by Outsports, the USAPL said they had not yet received a formal filing — although Outsports provided them with a link to a PDF of the court filing — and disputed the allegations. 

In their statement, Cooper said, “Sports belongs to all people. Sport is a human right. In this case, we need to lift up trans rights.”

Feature image via JayCee Cooper’s Instagram page: @jayceeisalive

2 thoughts on “Trans Powerlifter JayCee Cooper Files Lawsuit Against USAPL For Discrimination”

  1. A person that has EVER been a man, including in utero, has an enormous muscular and skeletal advantage over biological females. You are free to self-identify however you want, but biological men competing against biological women is in no way fair. We will not agree to participate in a lie. But if you insist, keep trying to destroy women’s sports. You might want to ask women how they feel about it.

  2. Please stop and think
    This is not nearly as bad aS what’s been done to black folks every day.
    You can’t get everything you want what about the other side that says you went from man to woman now you try and compete with women that’s bs and you have no respect for that opinion
    I’m not political but always looked at average Republicans as way out of touch but I’ve been listening for the last 2 years the left claim to be so inclusive and anti fascist yet the way they have shoved all their opinions down out throats with no response is the vey definition of fascism stop trying to sound smart using words you simply don’t even know the definition of


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