Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN-05) is asking Attorney General Keith Ellison for an investigation after one of her transgender constituents was barred from participating in a USA Powerlifting competition.
In late January, the organization released a statement to explain its policy that prevented JayCee Cooper from partaking in one of its competitions.
“Two areas of policy impact such participation: the first has to do with the use of testosterone or other androgens, commonly used to assist in transition from female to male. By virtue of the anabolic nature of these compounds, they are not allowed, nor is a Therapeutic Use Exemption granted for such use for anyone,” USA Powerlifting’s statement reads.
“The second area involves the participation of male to female competitors. Through analysis the impact of maturation in the presence [of] naturally occurring androgens as the level necessary for male development, significant advantages are had, including but not limited to increased body and muscle mass, bone density, bone structure, and connective tissue,” the organization said.
It is under this second policy that Cooper, a biological male, was prevented from competing as a woman in a USA Powerlifting event in Minnesota.
“The IPF [International Powerlifting Federation] Medical Committee, while respecting the rights of those who choose to transition, has been consistent in its opinion that use of testosterone and participation of male to female transgender athletes in our sport compromises fair play,” the statement adds.
Cooper told Outsports that USA Powerlifting membership should “stand up for trans inclusion and be on the right side of history.”
“Trans athletes should not be feared but celebrated fiercely,” Cooper said. Cooper is not prevented from competing in USA Powerlifting’s “untested division,” and recently won their Minnesota State Championship.
In a January 31 letter, Omar wrote to USA Powerlifting to express her “concern” with the organization’s decision “to bar participation by my constituent, Ms. JayCee Cooper, because she is transgender.”
“Under the Minnesota Human Rights Act, discrimination against anyone based on their gender identity is illegal. This includes in public accommodations, and in Minnesota, organizations such as USA Powerlifting,” Omar said.
I have requested an investigation into @USAPowerlifting's discrimination against a member of the Minnesota trans community. Respect for human rights includes protections for our trans brothers and sisters. pic.twitter.com/3ou4FsSozA
— Rep. Ilhan Omar (@Ilhan) February 5, 2019
In December, Christina Ginther, a transgender woman, was awarded $20,000 in damages by a Dakota County jury who found that the Minnesota Vixen female football team had wrongfully prevented Ginther from competing, The Minnesota Sun reported.
“I urge you to reconsider this discriminatory, unscientific policy and follow the example of the International Olympic Committee. The myth that trans women have a ‘direct competitive advantage’ is not supported by medical science, and it continues to stoke fear and violence against one of the most at-risk communities in the world,” Omar continued.
She went on to inform USA Powerlifting that she would be passing her letter along to Ellison with a “recommendation that he investigate this discriminatory behavior.”
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Anthony Gockowski is managing editor of Battleground State News and The Minnesota Sun. Follow Anthony on Twitter. Email tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo “Ilhan Omar” by Ilhan Omar. Photo “Ilhan Omar’s Letter” by Ilhan Omar.