SAN FRANCISCO - A transgender woman in Northern California has sued the company behind the popular CrossFit workouts for refusing to let her compete in the female division of its annual fitness competitions.
The lawsuit brought Thursday by Chloie Jonsson, 34, accuses CrossFit Inc. of violating her rights under a California law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender identity.
Jonsson's complaint says she was born male but has been living as a woman since she was a teenager and underwent sex reassignment surgery eight years ago. The surgery, coupled with the female hormones she takes, satisfied the state's requirements for her to be recognized as female on her birth certificate and other official documents.
Her lawyer, Waukeen McCoy, said Jonsson, who works as a personal trainer and is an avid CrossFit practitioner, first spoke to company representatives about her background a year ago after a teammate learned that participants in the Reebok CrossFit Games were required to register 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," McCoy said, noting that the International Olympic Committee and other sports governing bodies allow athletes who have undergone surgery, taken hormones and secured legal recognition to compete in the category that corresponds to their affirmed gender.
CrossFit's general counsel, Dale Saran, would not comment on the suit, which seeks $2.5 million in damages. Saran directed The AP to a CrossFit online discussion board, where he posted that Jonsson had not supplied medical documents to back up her assertion that she was 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 letter to McCoy that's linked to the discussion board.
Saran said CrossFit might create a separate division for transgender athletes if enough step forward to compete.
(c) 2014 ProQuest Information and Learning Company; All Rights Reserved.