Gender Justice Announces Historic Win For Transgender Rights in Sports

February 28, 2023

Gabbi Pierce, Communications Manager
[email protected]

Saint Paul, Minn.—

Gender Justice, along with co-counsel Nichols Kaster and Premo Frank, announced a huge win today for transgender rights in sports after receiving a favorable summary judgment ruling in Cooper vs. USA Powerlifting. Counsel filed a complaint in Ramsey County District Court against USA Powerlifting in 2021 for discriminating against JayCee Cooper, a trans athlete, who was denied entry into competitions hosted by USA Powerlifting (USAPL) because she is a trans woman. USAPL then instituted a policy banning all trans women from participating in its women’s powerlifting competitions. Yesterday, the judge ruled in our client’s favor, finding that USA Powerlifting discriminated against her.

In 2019, counsel filed charges with the Minnesota Department of Human Rights asserting that USA Powerlifting violated the Minnesota Human Rights Act by banning Cooper, and all other trans women athletes, from competing in women’s competitions. On behalf of Cooper, Gender Justice, Nichols Kaster, and Premo Frank sought protection from discrimination, and a clear, fair standard that allows trans athletes the opportunity to compete in the category of their gender identity.

“Trans athletes across the country deserve the same rights and protections as everyone else, and we deserve equitable opportunities to compete in the sports we love,” said JayCee Cooper, Gender Justice client. “I jumped through every hoop, cleared every hurdle to be able to compete with USA Powerlifting, but was met with a retroactive ban on trans athletes. With Gender Justice on my side, I fought as hard as I could to ensure that every trans athlete has the opportunity to compete, and be recognized with full dignity and humanity. I am thrilled that this ruling recognizes our rights and our humanity and hopefully opens doors for transgender athletes everywhere to participate fully in sports”

“USAPL’s policy singled out athletes purely on the basis of being transgender, which is exactly the type of discrimination that is against the law under the Minnesota Human Rights Act,” said David Schlesinger, Attorney at Nichols Kaster. “After today’s ruling, we are one step closer to making sure trans athletes like JayCee, and trans people everywhere in Minnesota, can pursue their dreams and goals without experiencing discrimination simply for being who they are.”

“Trans women belong in women’s sports, and their right to compete is supported by Minnesota state law,” said Jess Braverman. “USA Powerlifting’s ban on transgender athletes is not only illegal, it’s also rooted in outdated gender stereotypes that harm all women athletes. Gender Justice will always work to make sure sports teams and federations value the rights and dignity of all women by fighting for trans women athletes’ right to compete.”

The complaint was filed in Ramsey County District Court. Attorneys on the case are Jess Braverman and Christy Hall of Gender Justice, David Schlesinger of Nichols Kaster, and Matt Frank of Premo Frank.

The Summary Judgement Can be found here

Gender Justice’s legal team and our client, JayCee Cooper, are available for interviews. Please contact [email protected].


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