A transsexual man is suing the company behind a global fitness competition for $2.5 million, because he is not allowed to compete as a woman.
Chloie Jönsson was born a man but had a sex change operation in 2006 and is legally recognised as a woman in his home state of California, according to the lawsuit.
CrossFit Games, however, say because Jönsson was born as a male, he will “need to compete in the Men’s Division”.
The organisation, which aims to find the fittest man, woman and team in the world, says it would welcome transsexuals “but what we will not waver from is our commitment to ensure the fairness of the competition”.
CrossFit said: “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”.
Despite Jönsson undergoing legal and surgical procedures to appear as a woman, CrossFit said the reality of the physical advantage he would have over women competitors could not be changed.
However, the athlete’s lawyer, Waukeen McCoy, says CrossFit should rewrite its rules in a similar way to the International Olympic Committee, which allows transsexuals to compete in their acquired sex.
McCoy commented: “She’s legally female. A corporation like CrossFit, they’re doing business in California. The law precludes from discrimination on gender identity.”
Jönsson is suing for discrimination, intentional infliction of emotional distress and unfair competition.
Earlier this year it emerged that a teenage boy in California will be the first transsexual student in his state to play on a girls’ softball team at his school.
It followed a new law that gives transsexual students the choice to join either girls’ or boys’ sports teams at school.
Assembly Bill 1266 also gives transsexual students the right to access bathrooms and changing rooms of the sex they want to assume.