This American sports organization just voted overwhelmingly to ban LGBTQ trans / Nation competitors

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Garrett Blevins, a cisgender powerlifterPhoto: Instagram: United States Powerflifting

In February, USA Powerlifting (USAPL), the leading US competitive group that hosts nationwide powerlifting competitions, banned all trans competitors from its events. After an outcry from trans people and their allies, the USAPL’s National Board of Governors put the issue to a formal vote. It didn’t go well.

The voted policy would have allowed trans people participate in gender competitions corresponding to their gender identity. And although the USAPL allowed people to speak for and against politics before voting, the the final vote was 46 to 4 against allowing trans athletes to compete.

On the USAPL page explaining their anti-trans stance, the group says it did not ban trans contestants but simply banned anyone using hormone replacement therapy as a violation of its drug policy.

In a statement released ahead of the vote, USAPL President Larry Maile, Ph.D. says the issue has increasingly made him and others a target in heated debate:

“I have participated in several interviews that have taken place from an advocacy perspective for transgender inclusion and have been misquoted, given several seconds to produce sound clips and put together like a straw man. I was called transphobic, fanatic, racist, my family contacted directly. Our executive members have been harassed and their family members threatened, and our elite level female athletes have also been contacted and harassed. There is no point in trying to convince a partisan crowd. For our part, we will discuss it with our members, go through all aspects of the problem and come to what we believe is the best decision for our organization and in our sport… ”

The LGBTQ sports site Outdoor sports note that Virginia powerlifter Marie Gregoire his trophies and record breaking records were withdrawn in light of the ban.

Outdoor sports co-founder Cyd Zeigler writes that the “red ‘bone density’ herring” describing the physiological differences between male and female competitors is often used to disqualify trans women from competition, even though the bone density of some black women turned out to be higher than white men. There are many factors that affect bone density and that alone shouldn’t be worth disqualifying, he writes.

In response to the USAPL anti-trans vote, the Women’s Strength Coalition issued a statement who said :

“From the start of the National Board of Directors (NGB) meeting, the USAPL leadership made it clear that it has a blatant misunderstanding of transgender people, health care and wellness. Without any prior notification to the policy writer and presenters, USAPL allowed Dr. Kristopher Hunt, chair of the USAPL TUE committee, to present a powerpoint mixed with anti-transgender rhetoric. Rather than focusing on transgender participation in sports, Dr Hunt compared cisgender men to deceased cisgender women named Mary Gregory, and mentioned that he and USAPL president Larry Maile worked with Fair Play for Women, a UK based anti-transgender. organization, to develop a transgender policy….

USAPL has continuously operated in bad faith throughout this process…. we question [their] intention and authenticity behind the offer…. but our fight for trans inclusion is not over. The Women’s Strength Coalition and Pull for Pride will not stop pushing for inclusive politics and trans affirmation until all are welcome on the platform.

Shoot for pride is a powerlifting group that raises funds for LGBTQ youth.


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