Santa Cruz County

Transgender athlete sues Crossfit for banning her from competing with women

A transgender athlete is suing CrossFit after the fitness company allegedly barred her from competing in the women's division of the CrossFit Games.

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. - Nearly 190,000 Crossfit participants are competing in their third week of the Crossfit Games Open nationwide to see who is the fittest person on earth. However, one woman is left out of the competition. She's not left out by choice though, and not because of lack of talent.

Chloie Jonsson, a Los Gatos native, has been barred from competing in the women's division, because she is transgender. She was born a male biologically, but she had gender reassignment surgery in 2006, and is now legally a woman according to the state of California. Crossfit maintains by barring Jonsson they are protecting the rights of all competitors. Now Jonsson is taking Crossfit to court.

Chloie has filed at a $2.5 million lawsuit against Crossfit. CrossFit argues that since Jonsson was born as a male, she would have an unfair advantage over her competition.

"It's a shock to me because I'm generally very private over my life and this is forcing me to come out into the light on a mass scale," said Jonsson.

Chloie Jonsson is talking about having to tell the whole nation she is transgender. She began the gender reassignment process when she was 15, and has taken estrogen since then.

In a letter Central Coast news obtained that was sent from the Crossfit Company to Jonsson's attorney, Crossfit made their argument clear.

"We can only imagine the difficulties she has endured, however, that empathy for her situation does not alter the reality, we owe it to the competition and to the whole pool of athletes to exclude Chloie from participating in the female division."

This doesn't make any sense to Jonsson.

"I've been a woman for so long that I don't see how competing with men would be a fair playing field," said Jonsson.

Jonsson and her attorney, Waukeem McCoy filed a complaint against the fitness company last week.

"We filed an injunction to prevent Crossfit from continuing to implement their policy precluding transgender individuals from participating," said McCoy.

McCoy says the Olympics have faced this same problem. In 2004, they allowed transgender athletes to compete for the first time as long as they meet the requirements: undergo gender reassignment, and take testosterone for two years.

"They believe she has an advantage over other women which is certainly not true," said McCoy.

Jonsson says she's putting her privacy aside to pave the way for other transgender individuals.

"You have to standup for what you believe in," said Jonsson.

Even if it means sitting this Crossfit competition out.

Crossfit has 30 days to respond to the complaint filed before a trial date is set.

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