Transgender athlete sues CrossFit for banning her from competing as female

A transgender woman prohibited from competing in a strength competition as a female is suing the fitness company sponsoring the competition, seeking $2.5 million in damages.

Chloie Jonsson, a personal trainer, charges the CrossFit company with discrimination, intentional infliction of emotional distress and unfair competition in a lawsuit filed Thursday in Santa Cruz, California.trans2

While her lawyer calls it a case of discrimination against transgender people, CrossFit’s lawyer calls it protecting the competition.

Last year, Jonsson sought to compete in the CrossFit Games, a contest aimed at determining the fittest man and woman.

According to the lawsuit, Jonsson has identified herself as a female since her teenage years and is legally recognized by California as a woman. She had sexual reassignment surgery in 2006 and has been on female hormone therapy, according to her lawsuit.

The lawsuit alleges that a CrossFit teammate of Jonsson’s sent an anonymous e-mail to the games organizers asking about transgender athletes in the competition. CrossFit determined that competitors in the event had to compete in the gender of their birth.

Jonsson disagreed with its decision and the dispute has escalated to a lawsuit.

CrossFit maintains that Jonsson was born as a male, so she should compete in the men’s division, according to a letter from the company’s lawyer to Jonsson’s attorney. It also stated that the company had an “obligation to protect the ‘rights’ of all competitors and the competition itself.”

“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,” according to the letter from CrossFit’s lawyer sent in October.

CNN reached out to CrossFit but did not get a response on Thursday. The letter from CrossFit was provided to CNN by Jonsson’s attorney, Waukeen McCoy, who blasted the company’s decision.

“(Jonsson) doesn’t have an advantage over other women. She’s been on estrogen for such a long time,” he said about his client.

Hormone replacement therapy for transgender women includes anti-androgen therapy, which nullifies the effects of testosterone to reduce the masculine features of the body. Therapies can also consist of the hormones, estrogen and progesterone to feminize the body.

Transgender men receive the opposite types of hormones — mainly testosterone to masculinze their bodies with features such as increased muscle and hair growth.

McCoy said that CrossFit should change its rules to be more like the International Olympic Committee, which allows transgender athletes to compete in their identified gender after undergoing sexual reassignment surgery.

“She’s female,” McCoy said about Jonsson. “She’s legally female. A corporation like CrossFit, they’re doing business in California. The law precludes from discrimination on gender identity.”

He said Jonsson seeks a reversal in the competition’s policy.

The lawsuit also alleges that CrossFit’s policy of having to compete in a person’s original birth gender, would require that transgender athletes would have to reveal their personal histories. In essence, that they’d have to “out” themselves, even if they sought privacy, the lawsuit alleges.

After her sexual reassignment surgery, Jonsson changed all her records to reflect her sex change to female, including her birth certificate, according to her lawsuit. Jonsson kept her background a secret and did not identify herself as transgender, according to the complaint.

In a press release statement, Jonsson said: “If I am going to be forced to out myself, I want it to be for the good for all transgendered people and athletes — not because of a company’s discriminatory policies.”

22 comments

  • Richard Nance

    If you look like a Man, Talk with a Man’s voice & born a Male then you’re NO FEMALE & NO she should not compete just because she tells you, me or whomever she’s a Female, no way Jose, she just Wants the Publicity for the Transgender Movement or whatever she/he is!!

    • nojusticed

      If he was really interested in participating, why refuse to compete with the men? That make it seem that much more like he is trying to make a scene based on his changed gender than actually competing in an athletic event.

      • dowhat?

        Someone from this person’s gym informed the officials of the gender change. Initially, I believe, this person did not want publicity about the change.

  • Tony Moschetti

    I believe you meant to say, “transgender guy sues because they woiuldn’t let HIM compete as a female!

    If the photo depicts a “female” we need to put women in combat!

  • OldSoldier

    They allege discrimination. Don’t you love how people throw that word around to get their way? Jonsson would have an unfair advantage over most natural women. What about their rights? Our society is so twisted we actually have to have a debate about who qualifies to compete in a women’s division of a sport. Sick.

  • carthos walker

    Really, our courts aren’t full of enough jack n ape lawsuits, lawyers like this should be disbarred.

  • nikki

    Born a MALE!!!! Sorry, but just b/c you have a surgery doesn’t make you one or other. Its how you are born and what GOD made you!!!!

  • Tsk tsk tsk

    I like how everyone has such fierce opinions over the transgender aspect..meh, I don’t care..Insert generic bible belt comment here….but hey, props to this person for finding an interesting yet efficient way to become a millionaire by literally not lifting a finger. A fit millionaire, at that! All the while we Triad residents can’t even figure out how to keep our streets safe. Where’s your rage and anger over that?

    • Tsk tsk tsk

      Think about it, ladies. God tentatively made this person a millionaire…all the while we’re ignored. This means we need to do crossfit right? I forgot what the old testament wrote about crossfit…Or chop our bits off, follow in suit?

  • Joust

    “All the while we Triad residents can’t even figure out how to keep our streets safe. Where’s your rage and anger over that?”

    Because that’s not the topic. Would you post a comment about a transgender weight trainer on a thread about crime in the Triad???

    Try and keep up….

  • Bob Jones

    I think that assumes since he read a little bit about endocrinology he must think hes a master of physiology and thinks that hormone therapy must make a transfock “woman” the same as a genetic woman. What he probably doesn’t know is something as basic as the fact that males and females have different musculoskeletal structures and I don’t give a fock how much hormones this biotch took it won’t change “her” focking Q angle (if you dont know what this is look it up) which in males better supports massive loading on the pelvic girdle than it does in females, which gives males a biomechanical advantage…So case in point hormones don’t change someone structurally, and face it folks….structurally males can support more weight and in most cases lift more than women. So this individual should be barred from competing as a female and should hve to compete with the guys if “it” wants to compete. Peace out fockers.

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