USA Powerlifting upholds its ban on transgender athletes

May 18, 2019
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A person lifts weights.

A person lifts weights. (Stock photo/Creative Commons)

The USA Powerlifting organisation has upheld a ban preventing transgender female athletes from competing.

The National Board of Governors for the USA Powerlifting organisation voted 46 to 4 to uphold its ruling banning transgender competitors.

A proposed policy, co-created by the Women’s Strength Coalition and Pull for Pride, was put forward to the sports organisation that would have allowed trans athletes to compete consistently with their gender identity.

Pull for Pride, an LGBT organisation run by Breanna Diaz and transgender lifter JayCee Cooper, wrote on Instagram to say: “Our proposed policy may not have passed today, but our fight for trans inclusion is not over.

“Women’s Strength Coalition and Pull for Pride will not stop pushing for a trans affirming and inclusive policy until all are welcome on the platform.”

Pull for Pride added that the National Governing Board (NGB) had allowed anti-transgender rhetoric to be included during its presentation and had even deadnamed Mary Gregory, a transgender powerlifter.

Gregory was recently stripped of her trophies and described as “actually a male” at the 100% Raw Powerlifting Federation competition. She continues to referee for USA Powerlifting competitions, despite it banning transgender athletes from competing.

Mary Gregory wins trophies
Mary Gregory wins trophies at the 100% Raw Competition (75marylifts/ Instagram)

USA Powerlifting says its ban ensures a ‘level playing field’

In January, USA Powerlifting, which is separate from 100% Raw, issued a policy almost completely banning transgender athletes from competing in its competitions.

On its transgender participation policy page, USA Powerlifting says it is a sports organisation with rules and policies that are created to provide a “level playing field”.

“Men naturally have a larger bone structure, higher bone density, stronger connective tissue and higher muscle density than women,” it argues. “These traits, even with reduced levels of testosterone do not go away. While MTF (male-to-female) may be weaker and less muscle than they once were, the biological benefits given them at birth still remain over than of a female.”

In January, Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar said the ban on transgender athletes was “illegal” and “discriminatory”.

“I urge you to reconsider this discriminatory, unscientific policy and follow the example of the International Olympic Committee,” Omar said in a letter to USA Powerlifting executive director Priscilla Ribie and president Larry Maile.

“The myth that trans women have a “direct competitive advantage” is not supported by medical science, and it continues to stoke fear and violence against one of the most at-risk communities in the world,” she added.

More: Transgender, transgender athletes, USA Powerlifting, weightlifting

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