UNITED STATES NEWS

Discrimination lawsuit brought by transgender athlete sent back to Minnesota trial court

Mar 18, 2024, 5:01 PM

A Minnesota appeals court has sent the lawsuit brought by a transgender athlete back to a trial court to determine whether she was illegally denied entry into women’s competitions because of her gender identity.

JayCee Cooper, a transgender woman, sued USA Powerlifting in 2021 after the organization denied her 2018 request for participation. She alleged the organization violated the Minnesota Human Rights Act, an anti-discrimination law which includes gender identity.

Last year, a district court judge found that USA Powerlifting had discriminated against Cooper. USA Powerlifting appealed, and Cooper cross-appealed. In its lengthy Monday decision, the Minnesota Court of Appeals affirmed, reversed and sent back parts of the case.

Judge Matthew Johnson wrote: “The circumstantial evidence on which Cooper relies, when viewed in a light most favorable to her, is sufficient to allow a fact-finder to draw inferences and thereby find that USAPL excluded Cooper from its competitions because of her sexual orientation (i.e., transgender status).”

Gender Justice Legal Director Jess Braverman, an attorney for Cooper, said, “We agree that it’s illegal to discriminate against transgender people in Minnesota, but we think it’s crystal clear that that’s what USA Powerlifting did in this case, so we don’t agree with the court’s ultimate conclusion that the case needs to go back for a trial, and we’re currently weighing all of our options.”

Cooper could ask the Minnesota Supreme Court to review the decision, or go back to the lower court to keep litigating the case, Braverman said.

Ansis Viksnins, USA Powerlifting’s lead attorney, welcomed the decision as having “corrected some of the mistakes” made by the lower court and has given their side an opportunity “to tell our side of the story” to a jury.

“USA Powerlifting did not exclude Ms. Cooper because of her gender identity,” Viksnins said. “USA Powerlifting excluded her from competing in the women’s division because of her physiology. She was born biologically male and went through puberty as a male, and as a result, she has significant strength advantages over other people who would be competing in the women’s division.”

Cooper asked USA Powerlifting for a “therapeutic-use exemption” to take spironolactone, a medicine prescribed to treat her gender dysphoria, “but JayCee was denied because she’s transgender,” Braverman said.

She filed a complaint in 2019 with the Minnesota Department of Human Rights, but withdrew it before reaching a decision. The department filed an amicus brief in the lawsuit in support of Cooper, Braverman said.

In schools and private clubs across the country, transgender people’s participation in sports has become a contentious issue. Many Republican-led states have banned transgender people from participating in high school and collegiate sports.

Last week, a group of college athletes, including swimmer Riley Gaines, sued the NCAA, alleging the organization violated their Title IX rights by allowing Lia Thomas, who is a transgender woman, to compete in the 2022 national championships.

United States News

Associated Press

New York lawmakers pass $237 billion budget addressing housing construction and migrants

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York lawmakers passed a $237 billion state budget Saturday that includes plans to spur housing construction and combat unlicensed marijuana stores. The package also includes a raft of other measures ranging from expediting the closure of some state prisons, addressing the recent influx of migrants, and continuing the pandemic-era policy […]

25 minutes ago

SANTA FE, NEW MEXICO - DECEMBER 9, 2019: A copy of the record album, 'Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison'...

Associated Press

Record Store Day celebrates indie retail music sellers as they ride vinyl’s popularity wave

Record Store Day, a holiday invented at a gathering of independent record store owners and employees in 2007, will be observed Saturday.

4 hours ago

Associated Press

Former Arkansas governor, US Sen David Pryor dies at 89

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Former Arkansas governor and U.S. Sen. David Pryor, a Democrat who was one of the state’s most beloved political figures and remained active in public service in the state long after he left office, has died. He was 89. Pryor, who went undercover to investigate nursing homes while a congressman, […]

4 hours ago

Associated Press

A rabbi serving 30 years to life in his wife’s contract killing has died, prison officials say

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — The New Jersey rabbi serving a decadeslong sentence in a 1994 murder-for-hire plot targeting his wife has died. Fred Neulander, 82, was pronounced dead shortly after 6 p.m. Wednesday at a hospital in Trenton after he was found unresponsive in his cell in the New Jersey State Prison infirmary, news outlets […]

4 hours ago

Associated Press

Longtime AP journalist, newspaper publisher John Brewer dies at age 76

PORT ANGELES, Wash. (AP) — John Brewer, whose coast-to-coast journalism career spanned 50 years, including nearly two decades at The Associated Press, has died. He was 76. Brewer and his longtime friend Randy Johnson were on their annual fly fishing trip in Montana on Friday when the boat Brewer was in hit a submerged log […]

4 hours ago

Associated Press

An Israeli airstrike in Gaza’s south kills at least 9 Palestinians in Rafah, including 6 children

RAFAH, Gaza Strip (AP) — An Israeli airstrike on a house in Gaza’s southernmost city of Rafah killed at least nine people, six of them children, hospital authorities said Saturday, as Israel pursued its nearly seven-month offensive in the besieged Palestinian territory. Israel’s war against the Islamic militant group Hamas has led to a dramatic […]

12 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines can get you smoothly from Phoenix to Frankfurt on new A330-900neo airplane

Adventure Awaits! And there's no better way to experience the vacation of your dreams than traveling with Condor Airlines.

...

COLLINS COMFORT MASTERS

Here are 5 things Arizona residents need to know about their HVAC system

It's warming back up in the Valley, which means it's time to think about your air conditioning system's preparedness for summer.

...

Fiesta Bowl Foundation

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade is excitingly upon us

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade presented by Lerner & Rowe is upon us! The attraction honors Arizona and the history of the game.

Discrimination lawsuit brought by transgender athlete sent back to Minnesota trial court