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Judge orders USA Powerlifting to shut down in Minnesota over trans case

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In a recent ruling, a judge in Minnesota has ordered USA Powerlifting (USAPL) to cease doing business in the state after finding that the organization mistreated a transgender athlete. JayCee Cooper alleged that the organization engaged in discrimination when it banned Cooper from competing in women’s competitions.

USAPL argued that its decision was not made to marginalize Cooper, but rather due to data showing that trans women have a 43% advantage in powerlifting competitions. District Judge Patrick Diamond ruled in March that Cooper had been mistreated under the Minnesota Human Rights Act, which could hold USA Powerlifting liable for damages. The USAPL has already moved to appeal this decision.

“Our position has been aimed at balancing the needs of cis- and transgender women, whose capacities differ significantly in purely strength sports,” USA Powerlifting President Larry Maile said in a statement. “We have received a summary judgment decision from the Court finding us liable for discrimination. We respectfully disagree with the Court’s conclusions. We are considering all of our options, including appeal.”

However, the judge’s latest order baring USA Powerlifting from doing business in the state has been criticized by the organization as “highly unusual.” The group claims that the judge exceeded his authority with this ruling, which has forced the USAPL to suspend competitions in Minnesota, cease selling memberships to residents of the state, and attempt to relocate its Midwest Regionals event set to be held in St. Paul in May.

“The judge acted solely on his own, and consistent with his prior stance in advocating for the plaintiff’s position,” USA Powerlifting said in a statement. “We believe the judge has misinterpreted Minnesota law in this regard and exceeded his authority in terms of the conduct of our service to our members. We will appeal this highly unusual ruling.”

USA Powerlifting has also stated that the judge’s order barring the group from doing business in Minnesota was not part of the legal relief Cooper had requested. Meanwhile, Cooper expressed relief over the judge’s prior ruling that the USAPL had engaged in discrimination, saying that the complaint was about being “fed up” with the way the trans community had been treated.

“I feel mostly relief. I think we needed a win here, and it feels good to get that,” Cooper told KARE-TV. “I was fed up with the way that I was being treated; I was fed up with the way that my community was being treated, and enough was enough.”

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