Achieving LGBT Equality Through Litigation, Legislation, Policy, and Public Education

Press Release

Sports

LGBT Sports Coalition Urges CrossFit to Allow Chloie Jönnson to Compete Against Women

(Chicago, March 14, 2014)—The LGBT Sports Coalition calls for fitness company CrossFit to reverse its decision to force one of its own athletes, Chloie Jönnson, to compete with the wrong gender in their latest championship event because she happens to be transgender.

In making this decision, CrossFit is claiming an expertise that the for-profit amateur fitness organization clearly lacks. Their decision ignores standards accepted by other professional, amateur and recreational sports organizations. Its criteria fly in the face of a growing consensus of how transgender athletes should be included in sports, running counter to those standards adopted by the NCAA and a growing number of state-level administrative bodies for trans athlete inclusion in school and club sports, and without any demonstrable consideration of the science dispelling any question over competitive advantage utilized to allow for trans athletes to compete in anything from Mixed Martial Arts (as fighter Fallon Fox has) to the Olympics.

“An organization cannot rightfully claim to welcome trans athletes with ‘open arms’ and then create conditions which prevent them from participating,” said triathlete and Transathlete.com founder Chris Mosier. “Many athletic governing bodies, including the International Olympic Committee, have created guidelines for allowing trans athletes to compete as their lived gender if they have legal recognition of their gender, have had two years of hormone therapy, and have undergone gender reassignment surgery. It is ridiculous to think Chloie Jönsson would meet the standards for transgender women to compete at the highest level of sports but is not allowed to compete in CrossFit.”

“As obsessed as they are with charting personal athletic achievement, one would think the people associated with CrossFit would rely on data, rather than misconceptions and prejudices about transgender athletes when making decisions about the ability of the transgender members of their family to compete according to their own gender,” noted Associate Head Coach of men’s rowing at the University of Michigan Charley Sullivan, a member of the Equality Coaching Alliance.

Pam Watts, Executive Director of NIRSA: Leaders in Collegiate Recreation, notes that her organization would have no problem embracing a competitor of Jönsson’s caliber. “NIRSA recognizes and celebrates a transgender student population among their tournament participants and enables students to participate in intramural and sport club divisions based upon their personal gender identity.”

“The truth is that people vary in size, strength, skill, and ability, regardless of gender,” Mosier says. “There is absolutely no evidence that trans women on hormone replacement therapy for a significant amount of time would have any athletic or physical advantage over their cisgender counterparts. The idea that Chloie would have a competitive advantage as a transgender woman is based on assumptions that are not well-founded in any science. CrossFit’s decision to ban Chloie from competition highlights a lack of understanding about how a medical transition affects the body.”

In light of these repeated mistakes and CrossFit’s declared ignorance of the multitude of decisions made by sports organizations and institutions when it comes to transgender athlete inclusion, the LGBT Sports Coalition calls on CrossFit to reverse its singular decision to force women to compete against men in their sex-segregated championship event.

About the LGBT Sports Coalition

The coalition is an association of organizations and individuals committed to ending anti-LGBT bias in sports by 2016. It was formalized at the LGBT Sports Summit in Portland, Ore., in June 2013. Coalition member organizations include GLAAD, National Center for Lesbian Rights, It Gets Better, Equality Coaching Alliance, You Can Play, Outsports, GLSEN, Ben Cohen StandUp Foundation, Women’s Sports Foundation, NIRSA: Leaders in Collegiate Recreation, AAHPERD, Federation of Gay Games, Campus Pride, Br{ache The Silence, Athlete Ally, NCAA Office of Inclusion and GO! Athletes. Individual members include Kirk Walker, Christina Kahrl, Sue Rankin, Kye Allums, Erin Buzuvis & Pat Griffin, Anthony Nicodemo, Chris Mosier, Stephanie Wheeler, Laurie Priest, Jeff Sheng and Sherri Murrell.

LGBT Sports Coalition media contacts

Christina Kahrl
773.391.8520
ckahrl9@gmail.com

Cyd Zeigler
323.841.8293
cydzeiglerjr@gmail.com

© 2014 National Center for Lesbian Rights. All rights reserved. Give us Feedback. Read our Privacy Policy.