Women will now be forced to compete against gender dysphoria-suffering men after a Minnesota judge ruled against USA Powerlifting (USAPL) in favor of pseudoscience and progressive legislation.
Since 2019, JayCee Cooper, a male weightlifter who wants to compete as a woman, has undertaken a legal challenge against USAPL that began as a complaint to the Minnesota Department of Human Rights. Late February, that challenge that had grown into a 2021 lawsuit turned into a loss for women competitors as District Court Judge Patrick Diamond ruled in favor of Cooper.
“By denying Cooper the right to participate in the female category, the category consistent with her self-identification, USAPL denied her the full and equal enjoyment of the services, support, and facilities USAPL offered its members,” Diamond wrote. “It separated Cooper and segregated her and, in doing so, failed to fully perform the contractual obligations it agreed to when it accepted Cooper’s money and issued Cooper a membership card.”
Now, barring an appeal, USAPL has been ordered to allow men to compete against women. In a statement reported by Fox News, the sport’s president Larry Maile defended their policy to date and said, “Our position has been aimed at balancing the needs of cis- and transgender women whose capacities differ significantly in purely strength sports.”
Meanwhile, Cooper touted the ruling as a historic victory for civil rights as he told KARE-TV, “Marsha P. Johnson and the Stonewall riots and the plethora of black trans advocates and activists throughout history — and the way they’ve led this fight — I am just one small piece that is built off of that.”
This Trans Athlete Just Won a Major Discrimination Suit Against USA Powerlifting https://t.co/SbF05qM2U4 via @them
— JayCee Cooper (@jayceeisalive) March 5, 2023
In defending his ruling, Diamond, who had been appointed in 2012 by then-Gov. Mark Dayton (D-Minn.) cited the progressive-amended Minnesota Human Rights Act (MHRA) which had been altered to accommodate sexual orientation.
He also cited as “undisputed evidence” testimony from Dr. Stephanie Budge, an activist whose day jobs include being the director of the Advancing Health Equity and Diversity program and being an associate professor of counseling psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
“The undisputed evidence in this case,” the ruling said, “is that ‘From a psychological perspective, forcing a transgender person to act as their sex assigned at birth is harmful and can increase gender dysphoria… This internal distress is often debilitating and the primary way(s) to reduce gender dysphoria is by affirming one’s gender medically and socially.'”
While utilizing that expert opinion, Diamond ignored the experts presented by USAPL and said, “Even if the challenged experts’ proffered testimony were accepted as true, the relevant provisions of the MHRA would still define USAPL’s policy and conduct as unfair and discriminatory and would still provide USAPL no exemption from the MHRA’s requirement not to engage in discrimination against individuals because of protected class status.”
At the same time, the judge acknowledged that the plaintiff was well aware that men were at a physical advantage over women, “Cooper does not seriously contest that, generally speaking, cisgendered men have size and muscle mass advantage over cisgendered women. Cooper vigorously contests the experts’ application of that concept to actual transgender women athletic performance, particularly as it compares with cisgendered women athletic performance.”
It remains to be seen whether USAPL will file an appeal, and as the matter stands, a trial to determine damages will begin on May 1, 2023.
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