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Transgender woman sues Crossfit over competition

By Lisa Leff / Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 09:30 p.m. HST, Mar 07, 2014

SAN FRANCISCO » A transgender woman in Northern California has sued the company behind the popular CrossFit workouts for refusing to let her compete in the female division of its annual fitness competitions.

The lawsuit brought Thursday by Chloie Jonsson, 34, accuses CrossFit Inc. of violating her rights under a California law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender identity.

Jonsson's complaint says she was born male but has been living as a woman since she was a teenager and underwent sex reassignment surgery eight years ago. The surgery, coupled with the female hormones she takes, satisfied the state's requirements for her to be recognized as female on her birth certificate and other official documents.

Her lawyer, Waukeen McCoy, said Jonsson, who works as a personal trainer and is an avid CrossFit practitioner, first spoke to company representatives about her background a year ago after a teammate learned that participants in the Reebok CrossFit Games were required to register according to their gender at birth.

"They said she has an advantage over other women because of the sex she was born with, and that is completely untrue, scientifically," McCoy said, noting that the International Olympic Committee and other sports governing bodies allow athletes who have undergone surgery, taken hormones and secured legal recognition to compete in the category that corresponds to their affirmed gender.

CrossFit's general counsel, Dale Saran, would not comment on the lawsuit, which seeks $2.5 million in damages. Saran directed The Associated Press to a CrossFit online discussion board, where he posted that Jonsson had never supplied medical documents to back up her assertion that she was a woman. He also dismissed McCoy's suggestion that transgender athletes are engaged in a struggle as valid as the one black baseball players waged to be accepted in the major leagues.

"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," Saran wrote in a letter to McCoy that's linked to the discussion board. "That Chloie may have felt herself emotionally, and very conscientiously, to be a woman in her heart, and that she ultimately underwent the legal and other surgical procedures to carry that out, cannot change that reality."

Saran said CrossFit may create a separate division for transgender athletes if enough step forward to compete.

"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," he said.

CrossFit is headquartered in Washington, D.C., but its founder, Greg Glassman, launched it in Santa Cruz, Calif. in the late 1990s. The company has 7,000 affiliate gyms around the world where classes offer an intense, military-style mix of weight-lifting, core conditioning and cardio exercises, according to its website.

Individuals and teams compete every year in the timed CrossFit Games to determine who can complete the most repetitions of various exercises.

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hikine wrote:
She will genetically have a major advantage. Just because the law says you're female, you can't change the fact that she was indeed a male before the transformation. This will have a large impact in any competition.
on March 7,2014 | 12:30PM
1R1E wrote:
on March 7,2014 | 12:41PM
808ikea wrote:
I don't know. I've seen some pretty strong women and some pretty weak men.
on March 7,2014 | 05:30PM
droid wrote:
You can assume that ALL Crossfit competitors are VERY STRONG individuals. Along those lines, it’s easy to see why every edge or advantage must be carefully scrutinized before being allowed.
on March 8,2014 | 12:50AM
onevoice82 wrote:
Correct droid! Woman have a "pear shaped" body and a center of gravity that is wholly different then men. The hips are further apart for child bearing purposes and that CAN NOT be duplicated by castration and hormone therapy.
on March 8,2014 | 05:22AM
kekelaward wrote:
unnecessary to bring up the 0bamas.
on March 8,2014 | 08:18AM
Barefootie wrote:
So, your a doctor or phyical scientist, with facts, charts and stat's to back up your claims? Prove it or lose it!
on March 7,2014 | 05:31PM
hikine wrote:
At least she had the balls to apply to compete, wait a minute, she doesn't have them anymore!
on March 8,2014 | 01:45AM
cojef wrote:
Not a pun as you originally intended???
on March 8,2014 | 09:40AM
kekelaward wrote:
A Doctor of English, and it's "you're". As in "You're welcome"./
on March 8,2014 | 09:16AM
Grimbold wrote:
This is INSANE . The chromosomes are the gender , and everything else is macabre. Stop such Frankenstein medicine!
on March 8,2014 | 02:59AM
cartwright wrote:
Here's a pic of the dude on hormones PLUS steroids: http://www.northernspirit.se/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/photo-41.jpg
on March 8,2014 | 06:41AM
kekelaward wrote:
That sounds badly dangerous. You would think the government would step in to save this person from themselves, or at least to save us from high heath care costs when we have to pick up the tab for their treatment.
on March 8,2014 | 09:20AM
ryan02 wrote:
I don't see what the difference is between discriminating based on gender, and discriminating based on gender identity. If discrimination based on GENDER is allowed in certain circumstances (such as separate male and female divisions in athletic competitions), then shouldn't discrimination based on gender identity be allowed under those SAME circumstances, for the same reasons? I know that *generally* discrimination based on gender or gender identity is wrong, but when specific circumstances ALLOW gender discrimination, I don't see why it shouldn't also allow gender identity discrimination.
on March 7,2014 | 12:41PM
Barefootie wrote:
Thank you, ryan02 for your illuminating and spot on post! Discrimination is discrimination, is discrimination, if Company's like this are going to discriminate against 'transgender athletes' then they should be able to show 'scientific proof' to back up their allegations, or be held liable for discriminating against 'TG Athletes.'
on March 7,2014 | 05:36PM
kekelaward wrote:
They should have a TG competition for only TG people.
on March 8,2014 | 09:21AM
Bdpapa wrote:
Happening in San Francisco, what a surprise! These people should understand the limitations involved when changing gender.
on March 7,2014 | 02:13PM
serious wrote:
Hey, it's right here in River City. I went to the VA hospital next to Tripler and what's on the bulletin board?? Transgender support group meeting schedule-----Obama strikes again. Soldiers are trying to get out before he makes it mandatory.
on March 7,2014 | 02:27PM
fat_dad wrote:
You're comment is asinine.
on March 7,2014 | 03:18PM
richierich wrote:
The T is adjacent to the G on the keyboard. Was your username a typo?
on March 7,2014 | 04:07PM
Jca43 wrote:
What a nuts world
on March 7,2014 | 04:53PM
KaneoheSJ wrote:
Given your behavior, I don't think you are rich Mr. Richie. Maybe you should change your R's to some other letter that allude to a canine gender association.
on March 7,2014 | 05:24PM
pj737 wrote:
He/she's going full on balls to the wall!
on March 7,2014 | 05:53PM
konag43 wrote:
this is what happends when you pass same sex marriage and etc. lisyten buddy you were born a male with male testicles. even if you have cut them off you genes are still male.
on March 7,2014 | 03:02PM
KaneoheSJ wrote:
Women want to be seen as men's equal but yet when it comes time to physically compete, now they don't want the competition. Now, I can understand their fears regarding the fact that this is actually a man that was transformed through hormones into a woman. As such she has male genes, not female genes. He has the XY and not the XX chromosome. Although this woman might have some of the attributes of a female, she will still have physical aspects of a male. Many would say that a man is physically (in general terms) superior in strength. Then there are those that say that women are equal to men in physical strength. So in essence, this competition's committee is assuming that men are stronger than women and the women competitors are siding with that belief. But women want to be seen as equals at the same time. It seems contradictory that women would shun a physical competition with a former male because of a fear of an advantage and at the same time claim that they are equals. So which is it?
on March 7,2014 | 05:18PM
Barefootie wrote:
This artcle is all about 'discrimination,' pure and simple! It was not the women competitors that were complaining about the 'TG athlete' but the Crossfit Company, showing it's bias and standing behind their efforts to support 'discrimination' with no proof to back up their claims.
on March 7,2014 | 05:44PM
Barefootie wrote:
Sounds like Crossfit is nitpicking it's facts, without bothering to offer any scientific proof of it's allegations against 'Transgender' athletes; Discrimination, is sitll discrimination, no matter where you find it, in today's society!
on March 7,2014 | 05:30PM
Ronin006 wrote:
This is insane and shows how far into the outhouse American society has sunk. The guy was born a guy and no amount of surgeries and female hormones can changed that, nor can it be changed just because a bunch of dimwit politicians pass a law saying it is so. Dimwit in this case means liberal.
on March 7,2014 | 05:57PM
Anonymous wrote:
Right on Ronin.
on March 7,2014 | 09:35PM
inHilo wrote:
"..the International Olympic Committee and other sports governing bodies allow athletes who have undergone surgery, taken hormones and secured legal recognition to compete in the category that corresponds to their affirmed gender." Keep saying it isn't so, Ronin006, and you may be able to convince yourself that facts aren't important. It's so much easier to believe what you want to believe.
on March 8,2014 | 04:46AM
BIG wrote:
on March 8,2014 | 09:14AM
2NDC wrote:
The million dollar question..... "Is she hot?" ;-)
on March 7,2014 | 11:56PM
inHilo wrote:
"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." Next time you're having an argument with a woman, you might want to explain how men have a "physiological advantage over women."
on March 8,2014 | 04:49AM
yhls wrote:
Theatre of the absurd.
on March 8,2014 | 05:26AM
cojef wrote:
Takes all kinds. In today's world you gotta go with the flow. Don't rock the boat. Easier said then done, but that's reality?
on March 8,2014 | 09:52AM
gmkhawaii wrote:
wow...not only do the bodies change with surgery and chemicals, but des the BEE-CHING and WHINING also come with the changes?....hehehe
on March 8,2014 | 08:02AM
gmkhawaii wrote:
how about putting ALL the competitors into ONE group...NO separation .....
on March 8,2014 | 08:04AM
kekelaward wrote:
Why don't we just do away with the competition part, and just give everyone awards for showing up. This will get us to the 19th hole much faster, which is the real reason we're all here.
on March 8,2014 | 09:24AM
kekelaward wrote:
Leave it to California to come up with idiot laws, and then force the rest of us down a slippery slope.
on March 8,2014 | 08:17AM
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