USA Powerlifting was ordered to allow transgender women to compete with biological females in the women’s division after losing a discrimination case.
The decision drew ire from many across social media, including ESPN anchor Sage Steele, who noticed the news made waves at the start of Women’s History Month.
“Yes. Unfair to women,” she said in response to a tweet from Twitter CEO Elon Musk. “And the irony of this decision being made during Women’s History Month……
“The hypocrisy continues…..”
She was not the only one to speak out about the decision.
JayCee Cooper, a transgender athlete, won a discrimination case against USA Powerlifting last week after the federation banned her from competing in female events.
With Cooper’s victory comes a mandate the federation “cease and desist from all unfair discriminatory practices” because of sexual orientation and gender identity. The organization must revise its policy related to those issues within two weeks, meaning trans athletes will be able to compete in the women’s category after previously being banned.
Cooper filed a complaint in 2019 with the Minnesota Department of Human Rights, alleging the organization violated the state’s Human Rights Act by banning her and other trans athletes from competing in female competitions.
She then filed a lawsuit against USA Powerlifting in state court in 2021.
“The harm is in making a person pretend to be something different, the implicit message being that who they are is less than,” the ruling said. “That is the very essence of separation and segregation, and it is what the MHRA prohibits.”
USA Powerlifting will consider an appeal.
“Our position has been aimed at balancing the needs of cis- and transgender women whose capacities differ significantly in purely strength sports,” USA Powerlifting President Larry Maile said in a statement.
However, the court cited “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 competitors.
According to Open Powerlifting, Cooper last competed at the 2022 AMP Classic Open Nationals in Texas, where she finished in third place out of three competitors in her division.
Cooper twice competed against a lone competitor — Rebecca Richnofsky — in the women’s raw 198+ open category in 2019, winning both times. In the 2019 USPA National Championships, she finished in fourth out of four competitors in that category.
Fox News’ Ryan Morik contributed to this report.