A transgender woman has filed a $2.5 million discrimination lawsuit against CrossFit for not allowing her to compete at the 2014 CrossFit Games, CNN reported.
Chloie Jonsson, a transgender athlete who underwent sex-reassignment surgery in 2006, claims CrossFit is violating her civil rights by not allowing her to compete in the women's division at the CrossFit Games in July 2014.
The 5-foot-4 Jonsson, who weighs 151 pounds, said she is legally recognized as a woman by the state of California, where she resides. CrossFit said Chloie, a fitness trainer, can compete in the male division at the CrossFit Games, but it's unfair for her to compete against other women.
CrossFit insists it is not discriminating against Jonsson, but said it barred her from competition because she has a physical advantage over natural-born females.
"The fundamental, ineluctable fact is that a male competitor who has a sex reassignment procedure still has a genetic makeup that confers a physical and physiological advantage over women," said CrossFit attorneys.
Our decision has nothing to do with 'ignorance' or being bigots. It has to do with a very real understanding of the human genome, of fundamental biology, that you are either intentionally ignoring or missed in high school."
In response, Jonsson's attorney says Chloie does not have an advantage over other women because she has been taking female hormones for years.
"[Jonsson] doesn't have an advantage over other women," said Waukeen McCoy. "She has been on estrogen for such a long time. CrossFit is doing business in California. The law precludes from discrimination on gender identity."
Transgender activist Janet Mock, author of Redefining Realness, said gender identity is about more than which sex organs one was born with at birth.
CrossFit said it welcomes transgender athletes to its Games, but won't budge on its decision to ensure fairness in competition. "[Transgendered athletes will be] welcomed with open arms in this community, but what we will not waver from is our commitment to ensure the fairness of the competition," said CrossFit.
Athletic organizations, including the Olympics, have started passing rules that allow transgender athletes to compete if they have undergone gender reassignment surgery, are legally recognized as their gender, and have undergone two years of hormone therapy.
The 2014 CrossFit Games, which were won last year by Samantha Briggs and three-time champ Rich Froning, takes place in in Carson, Calif., July 25-27.