Jenacy Flores, a gold-medal-earning powerlifter in the MX division of USA Powerlifting (USAPL), was looking forward to competing in the Violet Crown Classic at her home gym in Austin, TX; she had been training diligently for the event.
However, on Jan. 4th the USPA informed Flores that she would not be allowed to compete in the drug-tested meet because she is trans – despite this news, she remained positive and said that “trans athletes deserve inclusion”.
The USPA’s choice follows their updated rulebook of Jan. 1st which excludes transgender athletes and individuals “using any hormone” from competing in tested divisions.
Though it has been a disappointing outcome, Flores continues to make strides with her activism and advocacy seeking out further visibility and recognition for all transgender athletes.
Flores’ challenge of the USPA’s new duress on trans athletes was not unknown as other organizations such as the International Olympic Committee (IOC) had already created pathways for transgender people to compete.
Until recently, Flores and a few peers could participate in USPA competitions without any issues due to the then-existing rule about not distinguishing between transgender and cisgender lifters and only prohibited prescribed hormones found on the banned substance list.
The new rulebook, however, forces those participating with prescribed hormones to produce medical records, becoming an unfair requirement for many who have been undergoing hormone therapies for years.
This situation highlights just how much change is still needed in order to create a more inclusive playing field that is free from discrimination when it comes to trans athletes participating in sporting events.
Katherine Flores’ excitement at competing with her cisgender peers turned to disappointment when she was told she would be disallowed from participating in a tested meet.
She had been looking forward to showing her strength on the platform, especially after the announcement of a new 100-kilogram weight class that she believed would allow her to hit some nice records and prove herself against other lifters.
Fed up with transphobia encountered in the lifting community and American society more broadly, Flores took to Instagram to share her story.
Despite this grievous negative experience, Flores has chosen to use it as an opportunity to stand against intolerance and discrimination by sharing her story and advocating for inclusivity in powerlifting competitions.