A transgender athlete is suing CrossFit after the fitness company allegedly barred her from competing in the women’s division of the CrossFit Games.
Chloie Jonsson, a personal trainer and CrossFit athlete living in Los Gatos, Calif., filed a $2.5 million lawsuit against CrossFit for violating her civil rights, TMZ reports. Jonsson alleges she was denied the chance to participate in the women’s division, despite the fact that she had gender confirmation surgery in 2006 and is legally recognized as a woman by the state of California.
The company reportedly said she cannot compete because she was born a male.
"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," read the letter CrossFit allegedly sent Jonsson, according to TMZ.
Jonsson’s lawyer, Waukeen McCoy, called CrossFit’s response “horrifying.”
"I think it’s horrifying that CrossFit has taken this position while this has already been looked at with the International Olympic National Committee and other sports committees," he told The Huffington Post, referring to the IONC’s decision to allow transgender athletes to compete in their gender-identified divisions post-surgery. “CrossFit ignores this altogether. They claim that it’s not ignorance or bigotry but I disagree. I’ve talked to Chloie’s doctor and other physicians who’ve said CrossFit needs to change their policy.”
"They basically say that Chloie was born a man with a penis [with] the XY chromosome and, therefore, she’d have an advantage over women if she was in the competition," he added.
McCoy said the lawsuit was filed Thursday. He said they have not received a legal response from the company.
In a press release obtained by CNN, Jonsson is quoted as saying: “If I am going to be forced to out myself, I want it to be for the good for all [transgender] people and athletes — not because of a company’s discriminatory policies.”
A representative for CrossFit was not immediately available for comment.