Chloie Jonsson is a strong competitor in the workout-competition hybrid CrossFit, but now the transgender woman is bringing a lawsuit against the popular program for refusing to let her compete in the female division of its annual competitions.
The 34-year-old filed a lawsuit against CrossFit Inc. claiming a violation of her rights under a California law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender identity.
Chloie Jonsson was born male, but since she was a teenager has been living as a woman. When she was 28 years old, Chloie underwent sex reassignment surgery and now takes female hormones, meeting the state’s requirements to be recognized as female on official state documents.
The athlete tried to clear up the issue with CrossFit first, speaking to the company’s representatives about her background after she found out from a teammate that athletes competing in the Reebok CrossFit Games had to compete according to their gender at birth.
“They said she has an advantage over other women because of the sex she was born with, and that is completely untrue, scientifically,” said her lawyer, Waukeen McCoy.
The lawsuit is seeking $2.5 million in damages against CrossFit. The company’s lawyer, Dale Saran, pointed The Associated Press to a CrossFit online discussion board showing that Jonsson never gave medical documents to prove that she is a woman.
“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,” Saran wrote in a message to McCoy. “That Chloie may have felt herself emotionally, and very conscientiously, to be a woman in her heart, and that she ultimately underwent the legal and other surgical procedures to carry that out, cannot change that reality.”
Even if she does not win the lawsuit, Chloie Jonsson may pave the way for other CrossFit athletes. The company has indicated that it may set up a separate division for transgender athletes if enough express interest in competing.