The case of JayCee Cooper, a transgender weightlifter who is suing to be allowed to compete in the women’s category of USA Powerlifting, has been met with outrage by those who believe it is unfair and dangerous to allow biological men to compete against natural-born women.
This decision comes after Cooper began sending demanding letters and filed a lawsuit in state court back in 2019 after being denied the opportunity to compete as a woman. The Minnesota Human Rights Act was cited as part of his argument for why he should be allowed to compete under his “chosen gender.”
Last month, District Court Judge Patrick Diamond ruled in favor of Cooper’s attack on USA Powerlifting’s ban on transgender women, citing an “increased risk of depression and suicide, lack of access to coaching and practice facilities, or other performance suppression common to transgender persons” as competitive disadvantages for transgender athletes. This ruling gave USA Powerlifting two weeks to change its policies concerning transgender contestants.
This decision has caused much debate among those who are worried about the safety and fairness implications that allowing biological men into female sports could have. It also raises questions about how far these rules can go before they start infringing upon the rights of natural-born females.
Some argue that this ruling will give an unfair advantage to transgender athletes due to their higher levels of testosterone when compared with natural-born women. Others point out that this could lead down a slippery slope where we begin erasing hard-earned achievements from female athletes over time due to the increasing competition from trans athletes.
USA Powerlifting President Larry Maile said that their position had been aimed at balancing the needs of cisgender (non-trans) and transgender women whose capacities differ significantly in strength sports such as powerlifting. However, many are still concerned about what this decision will mean for female athletes going forward and how it will affect them both physically and mentally if they are unable to keep up with competitors who have different physiological advantages than them due simply based on gender identity rather than biology or skill level.