USA Powerlifting has issued a ruling prohibiting male to female transgender athletes from competing against women to ensure fairness in the competition of “strength sports such as powerlifting”.
The organization stated that athletes who transitioned from men to women have an unfair advantage over their female counterparts due to natural anatomic privileges, including more developed muscle structure which cannot be eliminated by hormone therapy and medical reduction of testosterone.
“Through analysis the impact of maturation in the presence 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. These advantages are not eliminated by a reduction of serum androgens such as testosterone yielding a potential advantage in strength sports such as powerlifting,” the statement says.
The US powerlifting governing body underlined that the new rule doesn’t violate transgender athletes’ rights adding that the “term discrimination is often used to catch the attention of the public.”
“We have restrictions such as age eligibility, who can compete as at our national events and so on. No, you are not discriminated against because you are a 40-year-old college student that is not allowed to compete at Collegiate Nationals. No, we are not discriminating against your 7-year-old daughter by not letting her compete. It is simply the rules of this sport that all must follow if we are to be a fair playing field,” USA Powerlifting said.
The organization stressed it respects the rights of those who chose to transition, but it has its rules and policies which are applied to all competitors to provide fair competition.
The body also said that androgens necessary for female to male transitions are also not allowed even under the Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE).
The ban immediately fueled outrage among human rights advocates who have accused USA Powerlifting of violating anti-discrimination rights.
Ilhan Omar, a Somali-American politician, addressed Minnesota attorney general Keith Ellison asking him to investigate USA Powerlifting’s “discriminatory” actions.
She wrote a letter on behalf of JayCee Cooper, a male-to-female transgender athlete, who was prohibited to take part in competitions against biologically female rivals.
Cooper, who is now not eligible to compete in events supervised by USA Powerlifting, said that she hopes the body will revise its transgender policy.
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@uspaminnesota State Champion, State Record in Bench, best overall lifter. And still a bittersweet victory. I’m so proud of how far I’ve come with lifting but sad and dismayed about how much I’ve had to fight to make it happen. Thank you @uspapower for giving me the opportunity to compete when others would not. When @usapowerlifting /USAPL, a different federation, made me ineligible to compete and I was informed by the TUEC chair that “Male-to-female transgenders are not allowed to compete as females in our static strength sport as it is a direct competitive advantage.” I was gutted for numerous reasons. I followed the @olympics committee rules that were adopted into @theipf constitution, the constitution from the international governing body for USAPL. I declared my gender for sporting purposes (There’s a big fat F on my member card, license, passport, etc.) I submitted 5 test results spanning 2016 to present showing that my testosterone levels have been and continue to be significantly under the guidelines. I agreed to further testing. I watched as friends competed in the @usa_powerlifting_mn Bench State Champs unimpeded. I saw them celebrating their triumphs and bonding with their teams all while knowing that I wasn’t competing with them because I am trans, and that is a cause for concern for some folks. According to the USAPL “individuals having gone through male puberty confer an unfair competitive advantage over non-transgender females due to increased bone density and muscle mass from pubertal exposure to testosterone” Again, this is not a policy you can look up, this is what was handed down by USAPL folks via email. Not to make this the point, but seriously, I wouldn’t have won USAPL Bench States, even if I PR-ed. Im not going to be going after @bubblypowerlifter ‘s records anytime soon (serious props to the lifter who can someday, trans or not. I do hope it’s a trans person!) I’m just an athlete grinding in the gym day in/out trying to see what I can do. (cont. in comments)
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