“I urge you to reconsider this discriminatory, unscientific policy.”
Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota announced Tuesday that she had requested an investigation of USA Powerlifting for banning transgender athletes from competing in its events.
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Omar tweeted out a copy of a letter to the head of USA Powerlifting dated Jan. 31, in which she the urged the organization to lift its “discriminatory, unscientific policy.”
I have requested an investigation into @USAPowerlifting's discrimination against a member of the Minnesota trans community. Respect for human rights includes protections for our trans brothers and sisters. pic.twitter.com/3ou4FsSozA
— Rep. Ilhan Omar (@Ilhan) February 5, 2019
Last week, the leading American powerlifting group banned trans competitors, citing what it said was their unfair advantage: biological for male-to-female athletes and hormonal for female-to-male athletes.
“USA Powerlifting is an inclusive organization for all athletes and members who comply with its rules, policies, procedures, and bylaws,” the organization said in a statement published last week to its website. “USA Powerlifting is not a fit for every athlete and for every medical condition or situation. Simply, not all powerlifters are eligible to compete in USA Powerlifting.”
The decision came after JayCee Cooper, a trans woman, had her application to compete in a women’s powerlifting event in Minnesota denied.
In her letter to USA Powerlifting, Omar suggested that the group follow the example of the International Olympic Committee, which last year introduced new rules allowing trans women to compete in men’s events and trans men to compete in women’s events post-hormone therapy. Many trans activists were not satisfied by those more liberal rules either.
Omar also argued that “under the Minnesota Human Rights Act, discrimination against anyone based on their gender is illegal.” While she does not have the power to investigate the decision, she forwarded her request to Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison. It is unclear whether he will choose to investigate or not.
Democrats have recently taken up the transgender cause with unprecedented enthusiasm.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York announced on Monday that she will promote legislation to protect trans soldiers, as well as bring a trans Navy lieutenant commander to the State of the Union address. She said the bill was a response to President Donald Trump’s “cruel” ban on trans service members, which was revived last month by the Supreme Court.
At the same time, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has promised to use her new House majority to advance the Equality Act, a bill that would codify protections against LGBT discrimination, including special guarantees for trans people to be regarded in federal spaces according to their self-identified gender rather than their biological sex.
However, not everyone has gotten on board. A number of “trans-exclusionary radical feminists,” as they are derogatorily called on the left, last week sought to block the Equality Act by aligning with conservatives and in one case ambushing a transgender woman who was advocating for the bill on Capitol Hill.
Omar has taken up controversial causes before.
In 2016, when she was a member of the Minnesota House of Representatives, she lobbied for leniency for nine men from her state who had attempted to travel to Syria to fight for the Islamic State. She was less forgiving last month when, during the uproar over the Covington High School students, she falsely tweeted that they had yelled “it’s not rape if you enjoy it.”
The tweet was later deleted.
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