USA Powerlifting was ordered to allow transgender women to compete with biological females after losing a discrimination case.
The decision drew the ire of many on social media, including ESPN anchor Sage Steele, who noted that the news made waves at the beginning of Women’s History Month.
“Yes. Unfair to women,” he said in response to a tweet from Twitter CEO Elon Musk. “And the irony of this decision during Women’s History Month…
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Sage Steele speaks backstage at The Players Tailgate hosted by Bobby Flay and presented by Bullseye Event Group for Super Bowl LVII on February 12, 2023 in Phoenix. (Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Bullseye Event Group)
“The hypocrisy continues….”
He wasn’t the only one who spoke 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 women’s events.
With Cooper’s victory comes an order for the federation to “cease and desist from all unfair discriminatory practices” based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The organization must revise its policy on these issues within two weeks, meaning that trans athletes will be able to compete in the women’s category after previously being banned.
USA POWERLIFTING TO ALLOW TRANSGENDER ATHLETES TO COMPETE IN WOMEN’S DIVISION AFTER LOSING DISCRIMINATION CASE
Cooper filed a complaint with the Minnesota Department of Human Rights in 2019, alleging the organization violated the state’s Human Rights Act by barring her and other trans athletes from competing in women’s competitions.
He then filed a lawsuit against USA Powerlifting in state court in 2021.
“The harm is to pretend that a person is something different, the implicit message is that they are less than who they are,” the ruling reads. “That is the essence of segregation and distinction, and it is what the MHRA prohibits.”
USA Powerlifting will review the appeal.
“Our position has been to balance the needs of cis- and transgender women, whose abilities differ significantly in pure 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 training and practice facilities, or other performance impairments common to transgender individuals” as a competitive disadvantage for transgender competitors.
According to Open Powerlifting, Cooper last competed at the 2022 AMP Classic Open Nationals in Texas, where he finished third out of three competitors in his division.
“SportsCenter” anchor Sage Steele at the espnW Women + Sports Summit held at The Resort at Pelican Hill on October 23, 2019 in Newport Beach, California. (Meg Oliphant/Getty Images)
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Cooper competed twice against a single competitor — Rebecca Richnofsky — in the open women’s 198+ category in 2019, winning both times. At the 2019 USPA National Championship, he finished fourth out of four competitors in that category.
Fox News’ Ryan Morike contributed to this report.
Ryan Gaydos is the editor-in-chief of Fox News Digital.